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In His Own Words 



Translated by Herbert Edward Law 
and Charles Lincoln Rhodes 

Authorized Edition 


A. C. McCLURG & CO. 




A. C. McClurg & Co. 

Published June, 1916 

Copyrighted in Great Britain 




Author's Preface ix 

Translators' Preface xxi 

The Character of Napoleon . . . . . xxv 

- ' " ' ' r' ' 


I On Success I 

II Psychology and Morals . II 

III Love and Marriage 28 

IV Things Political 35 

V Concerning the Fine Arts .... 66 

VI Administration 81 

VII Concerning Religion 107 

VIII War 116 

IX Sociology 140 

Notes 149 



THIS collection of Napoleonic aphor- 
isms is not the first attempt of the 
kind that has been made. The genius of 
Napoleon has always challenged the atten- 
tion of historians, as it has that of the 
unpretending curious and lovers of strong 
and beautiful maxims; and following the 
Restoration, as after the rebirth of Imperi- 
alism under Napoleon in, there were those 
who diligently collected these odds and ends 
of the Emperor's thoughts. However, if 
this attempt to popularize these reflections 
of genius is not entirely new, I do not think 
any other has been undertaken with the 
same care and candor. 

We are now sufficiently distant from Na- 
poleon to judge him with the dispassionate- 
ness of an age appreciative, but careful to 
do justice. And just because there is little 
concerning this great man which is not now 
known, we are able to classify in a system- 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

atic way the products of his mind. With- 
out attempting a too rigid classification, 
therefore, I have attempted to present the 
diverse aspects of the Napoleonic mentality, 
and to view him successively in his charac- 
ter of professor of psychology and morals, 
of politics and administration; as an au- 
thority on love and marriage; as a patron of 
the arts ; as a soldier and as a sociologist. 

The first thing that strikes one in reading 
these thoughts, these sentiments, these max- 
ims, is the constant concern for sovereign 
authority which they reveal. 

Napoleon, in imagination, was constantly 
concerned with the good of his subjects. 
Whether in his literary works, properly so 
called, or in his immense correspondence or 
in his conversation or in his public speeches 
or in his St. Helena confidences, he has taken 
occasion to express himself on a multitude 
of problems touching religion, science, 
morals, art, politics and sociology. And 
always he does it as a sovereign, as a master 
conscious of his authority, obsessed with 
the weight of his extraordinary responsibil- 
ity and of the duty that devolved upon him. 

Only rarely is his attention swerved from 

Author's Preface 

the attainment of the final solution of a 
social or moral problem. Almost always a 
sure instinct brings him back to the stead- 
fast aim of his efforts, and these efforts, 
when they are analyzed, have no other aim 
than a transcendental utilitarianism. To 
bring to bear constantly throughout every 
foot of the Empire, in every soul under his 
authority, the powers of all for the aggran- 
dizement and prosperity of the nation, that 
was his unheralded but real anxiety and 
purpose. To compel every citizen to render 
all that he is capable of rendering of social 
usefulness, to drag from men, in spite of 
themselves and by an iron compulsion, all 
that they possess of moral wealth and in- 
fluence, to watch unceasingly the play of 
institutions and their machinery, from their 
simplest to their most intricate mechanism, 
that nothing fail of the particular work as- 
signed to it that was his constant pur- 

We need not be astonished therefore if 
this obsession constantly betrays itself in the 
seemingly unrelated subjects of psychology 
and morals. Nor ought we to be surprised 
to find among aphorisms relating to love, 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

this opinion of Napoleon concerning wom- 
en : " The most important woman in the 
world, living or dead, is the one who has 
borne the most children ; " or among those 
concerning Christianity, " The Christian 
religion will always be the firmest support 
of every government clever enough to make 
it serve it; " or among those concerning art, 
" Tragedy is the school of genius; it is the 
duty of sovereigns to encourage and support 
it;" or again, "Books are too argumen- 
tative not to corrupt a people by dishabitu- 
ating it from fact." 

These are the beliefs of a sovereign who 
gives his thought chiefly to the play and 
interplay of men and things on the stability 
and power of the state. Truth never ap- 
pears naked to such a mind; she is always 
more or less draped. He never sees truth 
objectively, but always in relation to some 
one or some thing. 

But what, in the last analysis, is this util- 
itarianism which is the essence of Napo- 
leon's genius? It is, in a word, the art of 
adaptation carried to its highest expression. 
To know how to create " the man for the 
place/' as the trenchant English saying has 

Author's Preface 

it, and to get the supremest possible out 
of him such is the whole secret of the 
Napoleonic necromancy. This genius re- 
quires for its highest exercise certain quali- 
ties which the Emperor possessed in the 
maximum of intensity. 

In the first place he had an extraordinary 
gift of insight. Napoleon was first of all a 
dissector of souls that is easily seen in run- 
ning through the chapter on psychology and 
that on politics. It is evident also in the 
maxims collected under the title " Adminis- 

Let us reflect that he had lived through 
the most astounding years of history, those 
during which the human heart revealed it- 
self in all its nakedness; that he had known 
things at their worst, and seen at close range 
the most sinister souls. But his knowledge 
of the human being was not only of a 
rigorous exactitude, he also knew the deep 
furrows which nationality plows in tem- 
perament; and, in particular, some of the 
judgments of the French character he has 
expressed have the quality of finality. 

Moreover his insight has no tinge of 
cruelty. He was himself too quivering with 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

life to linger a pessimist at the spectacle of 
humanity. On the other hand he visions too 
clearly not to take advantage at once of 
what he sees or to profit by his experience. 
For example, he observes that, " Men are 
greedy for emotion," and he adds at once, 
" their enthusiasm is his who can cleverly 
arouse it." He says, " It is important to 
recognize human weakness," but he ex- 
claims as a conclusion, " and turn it to your 
advantage rather than to oppose it." Thus 
always, in him, policy followed close on 

But keen insight alone is not sufficient to 
continually fit men for the places to be 
filled. It does not suffice to recognize ability 
in men ; it is necessary to inspire them. Fol- 
lowing insight, comes guidance. That is the 
difficult thing. No mind was more single 
in its will, no energy more irresistible than 
his. With him, to form a purpose was to 
execute it. His mind could conceive of 
neither obstacles from within nor from 
without which could swerve it. While his 
prudence might suggest temporary yielding 
to circumstances, he avowed it with a sort 
of superior artlessness : " Pretexts never 

Author's Preface 

fail the man who has the power to do what 
he pleases." However, read and re-read 
these aphorisms those which are the fruit 
of long experience, as his maxims of war, 
those which were the spontaneous outburst 
of the moment, or those which were the 
result of ripened thought the positive way 
he says them gives them the seal of au- 

But in addition to the power of insight, 
and the gift of authority, a certain recog- 
nition of the supremacy of moral ideas was 
necessary thoroughly to understand the 
citizen-subjects of the Empire, and to fore- 
see how they would adjust themselves to 
any given set of conditions. The Emperor 
recognized this supremacy of moral ideas; 
not as a deep and abiding conviction, nor as 
a superstitious belief. The man who said 
that a monarch ought to be acquainted with 
all religions in order to be ready, on occa- 
sion, to embrace them all, had but a modi- 
cum of superstition, moral or religious. But 
here, again, Napoleon's instinct for policy 
came into play, and he realized that any 
empire in which sound moral principles, 
were not given free scope, was bound to fall, 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

For him, therefore, outwardly to conform 
to morality, to preach morality, to defend 
it, and to impose it on men and to require 
it of them by all possible means, was merely 
calculation. The result of it he intended 
should be, everywhere and always, a realiza- 
tion of the thought expressed by that char- 
acter in Italian comedy who is made to say, 
" I will make you happy in spite of your- 
selves." Similarly, Napoleon might have 
said to his subjects, " I will make you 
moral, religious, and honest in spite of your- 
selves," adding to himself, " because such is 
to the supreme interest of the Empire." 

Every means is good to him which will 
firmly fix these truths in the French mind; 
and he uses all means with consummate 
adroitness. When the Grenadier Gobin 
committed suicide for love, Napoleon at 
once addressed his troops thus : " A soldier 
ought to overcome the melancholy and bit- 
terness of hopeless passion; to abandon 
himself to disappointment without resis- 
tance, to kill himself in order to escape from 
himself, is to abandon the field of battle 
without gaining the victory." Thus he 
shows by example to those willing to see it, 

Authors Preface 

that moral qualities are indispensable; and 
Napoleon knew how to utilize all means to 
arouse them. Thus was strengthened in 
each soul the conviction that, in proportion 
to his ability, it was the duty of each citizen 
to cooperate for the grandeur and prosperity 
of the country represented in the person of 
the Emperor. 

Such are the qualities indispensable to 
one, who, through a supreme utilitarianism 
would fashion men in his own image and 
make of them the instruments of his dom- 
ination. But important as these qualities 
are, obvious as it is that they should be 
found in a sovereign, they are still insuffi- 
cient to accomplish supreme results. There 
must be added to them a sense of harmony, 
an artistic instinct for the sculpture and 
design of the monument to be raised, a 
searching vigilance careful of the smallest 
details, leaving nothing to chance ; in a word, 
that sense of form which Napoleon pos- 
sessed in the highest degree, and which 
makes him kin to the world's great artists. 

I recall M. Paul Bourget, one day, in one 
of those satisfying conversations in which 
he excelled, developing the theory, that, as 
[ xvii ] 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

the Emperor's family was of Tuscan origin 
one would expect to find in him an artistic 
sense, an appreciation of form, an inherited 
sense of balance and harmony. And this 
indeed it is easy to recognize in his work, 
which though a little massive, perhaps, is 
admirably proportioned. 

This impression is never so vividly pre- 
sented to my mind as in considering the 
minute care for the smallest details, with 
which Napoleon occupied himself with an 
untiring passion. In his maxims regarding 
war there will be found one which is ex- 
tremely characteristic in this respect. It is 
where he is speaking of a commanding gen- 
eral's addresses to his troops, and of the 
necessity of issuing them on the day before 
the battle or the day before that. " It is 
not," he says, " that addresses to an army 
at the moment of action make soldiers 
brave; their usefulness lies in their effect 
on the course of the campaign, in neutraliz- 
ing rumors, and in furnishing matter for 
camp-fire talk." What a keen and compre- 
hensive understanding of camp life this last 
phrase reveals ! And it is strikingly typical, 
as it is suggestive, of that creative imagina- 
[ xviii ] 

Authors Preface 

tion which enabled Napoleon to foresee and 
estimate the action and reaction of things 
and of words, to their most distant conse- 
quences. The care for detail is there, and 
whoever possesses it to this degree is born 
to achievement, no matter in what direction 
his activities lead him. 

These, it seems to me, are some of the 
conclusions this book has to suggest. There 
is no pretense that it gives a new presenta- 
tion of Napoleon, his qualities or his de- 
fects; but it will serve to recall and fix in 
the memory some of those utterances, which, 
after a hundred years, still describe the social 
order, and which are the fruits of a mind 
which gained them at a cost entitling them 
to be called experience. 




IT is now almost exactly a hundred years 
since Waterloo. Every one of those 
years has seen additions to the ever-growing 
volume of Napoleonic literature. Opinion 
regarding Napoleon is gradually becoming 
clarified, as more and more the truth of 
history is being separated from the interests, 
the passions, and the limitations of knowl- 
edge which have obscured it in the past. 

This collection of Napoleon's sayings, 
which M. Jules Bertaut has presented under 
the title of Virilities, is one of the latest, as 
in some respects it is one of the most im- 
portant, of late contributions to the subject. 
It is not that he has discovered new facts 
about Napoleon. As he says himself, there 
is probably little that concerns Napoleon 
which is not now known. Because this is 
so, we have been able to see Napoleon in 
the light of fairly complete knowledge of 
contemporaneous conditions. But what 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

M. Bertaut has done, is to enable us to see, as 
it were, through Napoleon's own eyes. We 
are able otherwise to know what Napoleon 
did, and what were the circumstances that 
influenced him. But herein M. Bertaut has 
given us, in brief, it is true, and by illustra- 
tion rather than in complete detail, what 
Napoleon said about the things he did, the 
reasons he gave for doing them (which are 
often only the reasons he wanted believed), 
and -the purposes he had in mind. 

It is true that there is nothing in this 
collection of Napoleon's sayings which has 
not been published somewhere before in the 
collected editions of his orders, his corre- 
spondence, or his formal works. But they 
are collated and made available here; and 
they have this advantage over any similar 
previous collection, that in making them, 
M. Bertaut has had all the advantage of the 
fuller knowledge we have of Napoleon than 
any previous generation has had. Precisely 
because little that concerns Napoleon is now 
unknown, M. Bertaut has been able to make 
his selections from the great mass of Na- 
poleon's utterances in such a way as to pre- 
sent most fully and clearly, within the limits 

Translators' Preface 

of space determined on, the workings of 
Napoleon's mind to get whatever light on 
his character and motives his own words 
can throw. 

This work was well received by the 
French people on its publication shortly be- 
fore the outbreak of the present war; and 
so it is believed it will be of interest to 

In translating, the effort has been made 
to present Napoleon's thought in its English 
garb so as to convey the sense that Na- 
poleon's forceful, nervous, though not al- 
ways accurate French, conveys to French 

In the notes, nothing more has been at- 
tempted than to put the average American 
reader on an equal footing, as to allusion 
and reference to matters of French history 
or French literature or French experience, 
with the average French reader, as we may 
assume him to be. It is only natural to 
suppose that the average French reader has 
such a degree of familiarity with these as 
will enable him to catch, understandingly, 
Napoleon's allusions to them; just as the 
average American reader would be able to 
[ xxiii ] 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

catch, understandingly, equivalent allusions 
and reference to our own history and litera- 
ture. Hence the notes are confined, with at 
most one or two exceptions, to matters of 
French history or literature or national ex- 
perience. As to allusions to men or things 
of other countries or peoples, it is assumed 
that the average American reader is already 
on an equal footing, as to them, with the 
French reader. 

It has been attempted to give to American 
readers just what M. Bertaut has given to 
his countrymen. 


[ xxiv ] 


NAPOLEON was a man of action. 
His mind was cast in that mould 
which sees in events, not the relations they 
bear to each other as parts of a universe, 
but their possibilities to him who can seize 
them for his own benefit. His was not a 
contemplative mind; he neither looked for, 
nor studied, the causes of things, but the 
effects. He has therefore written no phi- 
losophy, though much cynical wisdom. Nor 
did he speak or write to set men thinking, 
but to influence their actions. 

Though a man of action, few have writ- 
ten more than he did. His correspondence, 
in thirty-two volumes, the publication of 
which was begun in 1858, is only a part of 
the recorded mass of ideas which came 
from his mind. What is included in this 
little book is, therefore, but the merest frag- 
ment of what there was to choose from, 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

But because Napoleon's mind and character 
were of the cast and turn that they were, 
what is here given will better serve its pur- 
pose than would a much larger measure of 
any other man's writings in regard to that 

Whoever expects to find consistency, or 
continuity, in what Napoleon has written, 
will be disappointed, because Napoleon had 
no profound convictions to weave them- 
selves like golden threads in the web of his 
acts or his words. He was neither a phi- 
losopher developing a system of philosophy, 
nor a publicist seeking to guide the course 
of events in accordance with an underlying 
and permeating, but consistent body of phi- 
losophical or scientific laws. He spoke or 
wrote for the immediate effect of his words, 
not for their future, or ultimate effect; nor 
did he concern himself with any niceties of 

Being a man of action, he was constantly 
doing things. To make the things he did 
best serve the purpose for which he did 
them, he felt called on, or found it con- 
venient, to give some reason or explanation 
for doing them. He was guided in the 
[ xxvi ] 

The Character of Napoleon 

reason or explanation he gave, not by his 
real reason or purpose, but by what he 
thought would serve him best at the time. 
Naturally, there could be neither consist- 
ency nor continuity in it. There was in it, 
however, himself, the mirror and reflec- 
tion of both his moral and his mental char- 

It is because of this characteristic of Na- 
poleon's utterances, that a selection from 
his writings, such as this of M. Bertaut's, 
can have, and does have, a real and an effec- 
tive value. Few great men can be appraised 
by samples of their writings. This is par- 
ticularly true of those whose greatness 
consists in their gift of ideas or good works 
to the world. But Napoleon's greatness was 
in his genius for coordination, for accom- 
plishment. It included, of course, the power 
to vision great things great in their mag- 
nitude and in the power required to bring 
them about. But this accomplishment add- 
ed nothing, or little to the world's store. 
His combinations were of what already 
existed, and though incomparably great and 
marvelous exhibitions of the power of the 
human mind to do, they created nothing; 
[ xxvii ] 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

and though he conquered half of Europe he 
left France no bigger than he found it. 

And so Napoleon's writings are no 
measure of the man, because they neither 
express his thought, nor measure his great- 
ness. His thought was expressed in action, 
and his greatness in accomplishment. But 
his writings do express his estimate of 
moral relationships and of mankind. Moral 
obligations he looked on as superstitions, 
useful in holding the world in order for the 
benefit of himself or anyone else, who, free 
from such superstitions, was able to exploit 
it. His estimate of mankind was of crea- 
tures obeying certain impulses and suscep- 
tible to certain kinds of stimulus, and 
therefore very suitable for the use and 
diversion of one, who, like himself, knew 
how to use and control them. 

It is these things, these qualities, that his 
writings present. Unconsciously he has be- 
trayed himself in them. What was said for 
its immediate effect, becomes a measure of 
ulterior motive. Just as astronomers de- 
duce from the aberrations in the movements 
of the planets the laws of the sidereal uni- 
verse, so, from the inconsistencies and 
[ xxviii ] 

The Character of Napoleon 

contradictions of his recorded utterances 
can be clearly deduced the dominating mo- 
tives of his acts. 

The great defect of Napoleon's character 
was that he had no profound convictions of 
duty or obligation or right; at any rate, no 
profound convictions commensurate with 
his intellectual powers. Therefore he had 
nothing to guide him in the selection of 
objects for accomplishment except the lust 
and greed of power to do, which grew with 
the growth, through exercise and expe- 
rience, of that power. That is why there is 
so much that is inexplicable particularly in 
the later years of his career. He is ever 
urged on by the unsatisfied power of accom- 
plishment, without having profound moral 
convictions to guide him either in the choice 
of aim or means. 

In this selection from Napoleon's record- 
ed utterances, insignificant and fragmen- 
tary as it is as compared with the whole 
volume of them, can be seen clearly this 
lack of profound convictions. In their place 
are cynical half-truths, clever sophistry, 
self-deception, because the depth and sound- 
ness of the moral sense in mankind is un- 
[ xxix ] 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

realized by Napoleon. It is because his 
writings do not represent or measure his 
accomplishment, but -do represent the qual- 
ity of his moral fiber, that Napoleon can, in 
this respect, be appraised by sample; and 
this collection which M. Bertaut has made 
is an excellent sample. 

H. E. L. 

C. L. R. 

[ XXX ] 



In His Own Words 



A PRINCE, criticised by his subjects, 
should never attempt to justify him- 
self to them. 

Collective crimes incriminate no one. 

The code of health for nations is not 
that for individuals. 

A sovereign ought always to confiscate 
publicity for his own profit. 

There are only two forces that unite men 
fear and interest. All great revolutions 
originate in fear, for the play of interests 
does not lead to accomplishment. 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

Audacity succeeds as often as it fails; 
in life it has an even chance. 

The superior man is never in anyone's 

Profit by the favors of Fortune while her 
caprices favor you; fear only that she will 
change out of spite; she is a woman. 

Who saves his country violates no law. 
Men, like paintings, need a favorable day. 

There are so many laws that no one is 
safe from hanging. 

Success is the most convincing talker in 
the world. 

As a rule it is circumstances that make 

Impatience is a great obstacle to success; 
he who treats everything with brusqueness 
gathers nothing, or only immature fruit 
which will never ripen. 


On Success 

Men are like numerals they are given 
value by their position. 

Second-rate men, however ambitious, 
have only commonplace ideas. 

When a man is a favorite of Fortune she 
never takes him unawares, and, however 
astonishing her favors may be, she finds 
him ready. 

One must indeed be ignorant of the 
methods of genius to suppose that it allows 
itself to be cramped by forms. Forms are 
for mediocrity, and it is fortunate that me- 
diocrity can act only according to routine. 
Ability takes its flight unhindered. 

No one can disguise to himself the fact 
that a dead man is nothing more than a dead 
man, and a living man of the slightest pre- 
tensions is stronger than the dead man's 
memory. When a great man dies, one who 
has rendered high service to his country, 
the first feeling experienced is one of satis- 
faction; a weight has been removed; ambi- 
tions are freed (See Note i). We may 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

weep a year afterwards when agitations dis- 
tract the country; but in the first access of 
feeling there is not even a tinge of regret; 
last wishes are unconsidered. 

Conquerors should know the genius and 
the language of every religion. They ought 
to be Moslems in Egypt and Catholics in 
France, to the extent, at least, of giving 
sympathetic protection. 

The publication of false news is a petty 
means of producing important effects, but 
one of which even cool heads cannot fore- 
tell the exact results, since each one to whom 
such news comes interprets it in accordance 
with his prejudices and his partisanship. 

In the eyes of empire builders men are 
not men, but instruments. 

Equality exists only in theory. 

The secret of the power to command is to 
be strong, because in strength there is 
neither error nor illusion; it is truth in all 
its nakedness. 


On Success 

Men are more easily governed through 
their vices than through their virtues. 

Correctly analyzed, political liberty is a 
convenient fable invented by governments 
to lull the governed. 

The torment of precautions often exceeds 
the dangers to be avoided. It is sometimes 
better to abandon one's self to destiny. 

A sovereign obliged to respect the law 
may be contributing to the loss of his realm. 

A legislature is a serviceable means of 
obtaining from a people what the king 
might not dare ask of them. 

Nothing has ever been established except 
by the sword. 

Noisy festivals are a necessity. Block- 
heads love noise, and the multitude are 

The heart of a statesman should be in 
his head. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

A new-born government must dazzle. 

In planning one's course in life, we should 
always reserve the right to laugh tomorrow 
at the ideas of yesterday. 

Never depend on the multitude, full of 
instability and whims; always take precau- 
tions against it. 

Events all hang by a hair. The clever 
man profits by everything, neglecting noth- 
ing that may give him any advantage. The 
less clever, by slighting some seeming trifle, 
loses all. 

From triumph to downfall is but a step. 
I have seen a trifle decide the most im- 
portant issues in the gravest affairs. 

It is only by prudence, wisdom, and 
dexterity, that great ends are attained and 
obstacles overcome. Without these quali- 
ties nothing succeeds. 

There are different ways of assassinating 
a man by pistol, sword, poison, or moral 

On Success 

assassination. They are the same in their 
results only that the last is the more cruel. 

By taking for your justification the pre- 
tended principle of general utility you can 
go to whatever lengths you want. 

A lie is useless, since it deceives but once. 

Nature in creating certain men designed 
them for subordinate positions. 

Great men are meteors, who, by their 
burning, light the world. 

If aggressors are wrong above, they are 
right here below. 

There are vices and virtues of circum- 

Since the discovery of printing the in- 
telligent are called on to govern ; and those 
who govern, slave. 

He who knows how to flatter also knows 
how to slander. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

The consummate courtier must be one 
who scorns the object of his flatteries, and 
is ever ready to destroy him. 

There are crises where the good of the 
nation requires the condemnation of the in- 

Those who cannot profit by circumstances 
are ninnies. 

The honest are so easy going and rogues 
so alert, that it is often necessary to employ 

Put a rogue in the limelight and he will 
act like an honest man. 

It is easier to destroy than to restore 

The man fitted for affairs and authority 
never considers individuals, but things and 
their consequences. 

A congress of the powers is deceit agreed 
on between diplomats it is the pen of 

On Success 

Machiavelli combined with the scimitar of 

Destiny urges me to a goal of which I 
am ignorant. Until that goal is attained I 
am invulnerable, unassailable. When Des- 
tiny has accomplished her purpose in me, a 
fly may suffice to destroy me. 

Necessity dominates inclination, will, and 

The most dangerous counselor is self- 

To be a successful conqueror one must 
be cruel. 

The strong man is the one who is able 
to intercept at will the communication be- 
tween the senses and the mind. 

Men who hesitate never succeed in their 

One never mounts so high as when one 
does not know how high he is going. 


Napoleon in His Own PFords 

What is begun in feebleness belongs of 
right to audacity, which makes it legiti- 
mately its own by seizing it. 

There is nothing so hard to harness as a 
people which has already shaken off the 
pack saddle. 

The only thing to be done with those one 
is no longer able to recompense, is to dis- 
grace them. 



MEN have their virtues and their vices, 
their heroisms and their perversities ; 
men are neither wholly good nor wholly bad, 
but possess and practice all that there is of 
good and bad here below. Such is the 
general rule. Temperament, education, the 
accidents of life, are modifying factors. 
Outside of this, everything is ordered ar- 
rangement, everything is chance. Such has 
been my rule of expectation and it has 
usually brought me success. 

Man is only a more perfect and better 
reasoning animal. 

Whatever misanthropists may say, in- 
grates and the perverse are exceptions in the 
human species. 

A philosopher has contended that men 
are born wicked; it would be a very 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

difficult matter and a useless one to. deter- 
mine by inquiry whether he is right. But 
this much is certain, the great mass of 
society are far from being depraved; for 
if a large majority were criminal or in- 
clined to break the laws, where would the 
force or power be to prevent or constrain 
them? And herein is the real blessing of 
civilization, because this happy result has its 
origin in her bosom, growing out of her very 

Man seldom acts wholly true to his char- 
acter; he yields to the violence of his feel- 
ings, or is carried away by passion. 

Our physical qualities are developed by 
our dangers and our needs. 

When small men attempt great enter- 
prises, they always end by reducing them to 
the level of their mediocrity. 

What power there is in imagination in 
the imagination of men ! The English sail- 
ors at St. Helena did not know me, had 
never seen me, only heard of me, yet what 

Psychology and Morals 

did they not see in me, and what did they 
not do in my behalf ! And the same strange 
spectacle is repeated in every age, in every 
country, in every century. Such is fanat- 
icism. Yes, imagination governs the world. 

Man loves the marvelous. It has an irre- 
sistible charm for him. He is always ready 
to leave that with which he is familiar to 
pursue vain inventions. 

What are we? What is the future? What 
is the past? What magic fluid envelops 
us and hides from us the things it is most 
important for us to know? We are born, 
we live, and we die in the midst of the 

To do all that one is able to do, is to be 
a man ; to do all that one would like to do, 
would be to be a god. 

Man achieves in life only by commanding 
the capabilities nature has given him, or by 
creating them within himself by education 
and by knowing how to profit by the difficul- 
ties encountered. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

It is said that when we know the type 
of a man we have the key to his conduct. 
This is untrue. A thoroughly honest man 
may do an evil act; or another an unjust 
act, without being wicked. In such cases 
the man hardly ever acts in accordance with 
his type, but from some secret purpose, 
which up to that moment has been hid- 
den in the deepest recesses of his heart. 
It is a mistake, too, to say that the face is 
the mirror of the soul. The truth is, men 
are very hard to know, and yet, not to be 
deceived, we must judge them by their pres- 
ent actions, but for the present only. 

A mind without memory is a fortress 
without a garrison. 

One is more certain to influence men, to 
produce more effect on them, by absurdities 
than by sensible ideas. 

It is not true that men never change; 
they change for the worse, as well as for 
the better. It is not true they are ungrate- 
ful; more often the benefactor rates his 
favors higher than their worth; and often 

Psychology and Morals 

too he does not allow for circumstances. If 
few men have the moral force to resist 
impulses, most men do carry within them- 
selves the germs of virtues as well as of 
vices, of heroism as well as of cowardice. 
Such is human nature education and cir- 
cumstances do the rest. 

Ordinarily men exercise their memory 
much more than their judgment. 

Men are sheep, they always follow the 

How many really capable men are chil- 
dren more than once during the day! 

When we know our moral weakness we 
ought to know how to care for our soul as 
we know how to care for our leg or arm. 

I am of the opinion that the good or bad 
conduct of a child depends entirely on its 

There is nothing so imperious as feeble- 
ness which feels itself supported by force. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

The superior man is not by nature impres- 
sionable. We praise him, we blame him; 
it matters little to him. It is to his own 
judgment that he listens. 

The shortcomings of children are often 
the result of the bad education they have 
received from their parents. 

One does well only that which one does 
one's self. 

Good sense makes men capable. Self- 
respect is the breeze which swells the sails 
and wafts their barks into port. 

Death is a dreamless sleep. 

True character stands the test of emer- 
gencies. Do not be mistaken, it is weak- 
ness from which the awakening is rude. 

Life is a fleeting dream that loses itself. 

Life is strewn with so many dangers, and 
can be the source of so many misfortunes, 
that death is not the greatest of them. 

Psychology and Morals 

How many seemingly impossible things 
have been accomplished by resolute men be- 
cause they had to do, or die. 

The private life of a man is a light by 
which one may instructively read. 

Men are greedy for emotion; their en- 
thusiasm is his who can cleverly arouse it. 

There is no strength without skill. 

A man. becomes the creature of his uni- 

With audacity one can undertake any- 
thing, but not do everything. 

Interminable matters are those that pre- 
sent no difficulties. 

If success were not a chimera, it would 
not be so alluring. 

The fool has one great advantage over a 
man of sense he is always satisfied with 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

Force is never anything but force, en- 
thusiasm never anything but enthusiasm. 
But persuasiveness endures and imprints 
itself on the heart. 

We only believe the things we want to 

To be believed, make the truth unbeliev- 

There are some people who behave 
decently only toward their enemies. 

Simpletons talk of the past, wise men of 
the present, and fools of the future. 

Patriotism is the first of virtues. 

The ambition to rule over other minds 
is the strongest of passions. 

Most sentiments are traditions. 

The man who practices virtue only in the 
hope of gaining reputation, is toying with 

Psychology and Morals 

A man with neither courage nor bravery 
is a mere thing. 

I have no regard for those who affect to 
despise death; the important thing is to 
know how to endure the inevitable. 

Each hour wasted in youth is a hazard 
of misfortune taken for the future. 

The superior man is undisturbed ; praised 
or blamed, he goes on. 

In a narrow sphere great men are blun- 

Self-interest is the key to commonplace 

Severity presumes more faults than it 

Strong souls resist pleasures of the senses 
as mariners shun reefs. 

To debate in danger is to hold back in the 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

Adversity is the midwife of genius. 

From wit to good sense is farther than 
one thinks. 

Nothing is more difficult than to decide. 

A stroke of fate is like striking a money 
balance; it indicates a man's real worth. 

Nothing that degrades a man is useful 
for long. 

Happiness grows out of circumstances; 
felicity out of affections. 

There is nothing noble that is not great; 
greatness and immensity make us overlook 
many defects. 

Chance takes account of all our follies. 

Judgment matures as well in success as 
in misfortunes. 

Time is a necessary element. When Ar- 
chimedes offered to raise the world with 

Psychology and Morals 

a lever and fulcrum, he required time. God 
took seven days to create the universe. 

Nothing is so rare as steadfast devotion. 

Intelligence precedes force. Force itself 
is nothing without intelligence. In the 
heroic age the leader was the strongest man ; 
with civilization he has become the most 
intelligent of the brave. 

In pardoning we rise above those who 
insult us. 

Of what blunders are not the vanity and 
self love of an ignorant man capable. 

The man of projects is always right in 

No man has friends; it is his good 
fortune that has. 

The fire of youth, the pride of blood, the 
death of hope, all produce enthusiasts and 
martyrs and bring forth courageous and 
desperate decisions. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

Temptation reaches the heart through 
the eye; we are always tempted to yield to 
what we admire. 

It is asked why misfortunes feared often 
affect us more than those actually experi- 
enced. It is because, in imagination as in 
mathematics, we cannot measure the power 
of the unknown. 

When one has never had reverses, he is 
due to have them proportionate to his good 

How far short men fall from equaling 
their pretensions! Do they always know, 
themselves, what they are? 

Genius does not transmit itself from pa- 
rent to son. There has never been, so far as 
I know, one single instance in all history of 
two great poets, two great mathematicians, 
two great conquerors, two great monarchs, 
one of whom was a son of the other. 

Genius is fire from heaven; but it rarely 
finds a vessel ready to receive it. 


Psychology and Morals 

Morality is in itself a complete code. 

True happiness, the only true strength, 
all the consolations of mankind are in 
religion and morality. Hence all moral 
religions are beautiful. Aside from dogmas 
more or less absurd, which, to understand, 
we must know the people among whom 
they originated, what is there in the Vedas, 
the Koran, the old Testament, in Confucius, 
in them all in a word? a pure morality 
that is to say, protection to the weak, respect 
for the laws of the country, and a belief in 
one God. But the Gospel alone offers mo- 
rality freed from absurdities. 

One must learn to forgive and not to hold 
a hostile, bitter attitude of mind, which 
offends those about us and prevents us 
from enjoying ourselves ; one must recognize 
human shortcomings and adjust himself to 
them rather than to be constantly finding 
fault with them. 

It is not necessary to prohibit or encour- 
age oddities of conduct which are not 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

I despise ingratitude as the most infamous 
defect of the heart. 

Moralizing is very often only a disguise 
for slander. 

The best way to keep one's word is not 
to give it. 

Wounds given honor never heal; they 
destroy the moral fiber. 

It is not to be disputed that in the mar- 
riage relation the oriental family is entirely 
different from the occidental family. Moral 
codes therefore are not universal. Man is 
the minister of Nature, and social relations 
follow racial differences. 

We recognize an honest man by his con- 
duct toward his wife, his family, and his 

Has a man the right to kill him- 
self? Yes, if his death will injure no one, 
and life is a misfortune to him. When is 
life a misfortune to a man? When it offers 


Psychology and Morals 

him nothing but suffering and sorrow; but 
as suffering and sorrow change constantly, 
there is no moment in life when a man has 
the right to kill himself, except at the 
moment of his death ; since then, only, is the 
proof forthcoming that his life has been 
only a web of misfortunes and suffering. 
The man who, succumbing to the weight of 
present ills, seeks death, does an injustice 
to himself, yielding in despair and feeble- 
ness to the fantasy of the moment, to which 
he sacrifices all the possibilities of the future. 

There are rogues sufficiently roguish to 
act like honest men. 

Suicide is the act of a gambler who has 
lost everything, or of a ruined prodigal. It 
has always been a maxim with me that a 
man showed more true courage in support- 
ing the ills of life than by ending it. 

True heroism consists in rising superior 
to misfortune. 

The Grenadier Gobin committed suicide 
for love. The circumstances offered a good 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

opportunity. It was the second event of the 
kind that had happened in the corps within 
a month. The First Consul directed that 
there should be included in the orders to 
the Guard : " That a soldier ought to over- 
come the melancholy and bitterness of hope- 
less passion; there is as much true courage 
in suffering with constancy the despair of 
the soul, as in standing firm under the fire 
of a battery; to surrender to disappointment 
without resisting, to commit suicide to 
escape from it, is to abandon the field of 
battle without having gained the victory/' 

To give suitably is to honor ; to give much 
is to corrupt 

When a man has no courage, he neces- 
sarily lacks head, and is unfit to command 
either himself or others. 

The human family has two virtues which 
we cannot value too highly courage in 
man, and modesty in woman. 

Let the night dissipate the injuries of the 


Psychology and Morals 

There is no compromise with honor. 

So much the worse for those who do not 
believe in virtue. 



FAMILY ties have always seemed to me 
sacred. I have never been able to be- 
lieve that we can break them without dis- 
honor, and failing in that which is most 
sacred to man. 

In love the only safety is in flight. 

Love is the occupation of the idle, the 
distraction of the soldier, the danger of the 

Marriage ought not to be permitted 
between those who have not known each 
other more than six months. 

The civil magistrate who would make im- 
pressive the woman's promise of obedience 
and fidelity, ought to have a formulary. It 
ought to be emphasized that in leaving the 
protection of the family the woman passes 


Love and Marriage 

under that of her husband. Magistrates 
perform the marriage ceremony without 
any solemnity. It altogether lacks impres- 
siveness. It should be given a moral quality. 
Observe the priests; they preach a sermon. 
Even if it is not heard by the bridal couple 
wholly occupied with other things, it is by 
the others present. 

Marriage is without doubt the perfect 
social state. 

Love is always the occupation of the idle 
ranks of society. 

In great crises it is the portion of wives 
to make reverses supportable. 

We will hear nothing in derogation of 
women, we peoples of the Occident. We 
hold them, which is a great mistake, as being 
almost our own equals. The peoples of the 
orient are wiser and juster than we. They 
have declared them the natural property of 
man. And, in effect, Nature has made them 
our slaves. It is only because of our fool- 
ishness that they have dared to pretend to 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

be our equals. They abuse their privileges 
in order to corrupt and rule us. For one 
who inspires us to good, there are a hundred 
who lead us into folly. 

Woman was given to man in order that 
there might be children. Now one woman 
alone cannot suffice a man for that purpose ; 
she cannot be his wife while she is nursing; 
she cannot be his wife while she is sick; she 
ceases to be his wife when she is no longer 
able to bear him children. Man, whom 
Nature has limited neither by age nor by 
any of these inconveniences, ought therefore 
to have several wives. 

If a man is unfaithful to his wife, con- 
fesses it and repents of it, no consequences 
result. The wife is angry, forgives, is 
reconciled, sometimes exacting something 
as the price of reconciliation. It is a differ- 
ent matter if the infidelity is the wife's. She 
will confess and repent of it in vain, for 
who will guarantee that no consequences 
will follow? The injury is irreparable. It 
cannot be and ought not to be condoned. 
It is therefore only the failure of judgment, 


Love and Marriage 

of general recognition and the defect of 
education, which makes it possible for a 
woman to believe herself equal in all things 
to her husband. There is however nothing 
dishonoring in the difference. Each have 
their privileges and their obligations. Your 
privileges, ladies, are beauty, grace, and 
seductive power; your obligations, depend- 
ence and submission. 

And moreover of what can you complain 
after all? Have we not accorded you a 
soul? You know there are compensations 
in philosophy. You pretend to equality? 
But that is foolishness. Woman is our 
property ; we are not hers, for she bears us 
children but we do not bear her any. She 
is therefore the man's property as the fruit 
tree is the gardener's. 

A beautiful woman appeals to the eye; a 
good woman appeals to the heart. One is 
a jewel, the other a treasure. 

The man who allows himself to be gov- 
erned entirely by his wife is neither himself 
nor his wife; he is nothing. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

I firmly belive that love does more harm 
than good, and that it would be a blessing 
from divine providence, if it were banished 
and men delivered from it. 

The most important woman in the world, 
living or dead, is the one who has borne the 
most children. 

How many men are culpable only because 
of their weakness for women ! 

Marriage, to be happy, requires a constant 
exchange of confidences. 

Marriage finds no counterpart in nature. 

A woman needs six months of Paris to 
know what is hers to have, and her realm. 

Love is folly committed by two. 

Marriage is not always the result of 
love. Most young people marry in order 
to secure independence and a position, and 
take spouses who do not suit them in any 
way. The law ought to provide a remedy at 


Love and Marriage 

the moment they realize they have been en- 
tirely mistaken. But this indulgence ought 
to favor neither imprudence nor passion. A 
woman should be permitted but one divorce, 
and should not be allowed to remarry for 
five years afterwards. There should be no 
divorce after ten years of marriage. 

The life filled with love is the guarantee 
of a happy home. It assures the honor of 
the wife, and the respect of the husband. 
It maintains confidence and good relations. 

The mental inferiority of women, the 
instability of their ideas, their destiny in 
the social order, the necessity of inspiring 
in them a constant submission, and a soft 
and complaisant charity all these make 
the yoke of religion indispensable. 

Women, when they are bad, are worse 
than men, and more disposed to commit 
crime. When the sex, which is sweet by 
inheritance, once becomes degraded, it 
falls into greater excesses than the other. 
Women are always either much better or 
much worse than men. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

I do not believe it is in our nature to love 
impartially. We deceive ourselves when we 
think we can love two beings, even our own 
children, equally. There is always a dom- 
inant affection. 

A man ought never to quarrel with a 
woman; he should hear her unreason in 



IN politics nothing is immutable. Events 
carry within them an invincible power. 
The unwise destroy themselves in resistance. 
The skillful accept events, take strong hold 
of them and direct them. 

The great difficulty with politics is, that 
there are no established principles. 

If, for the sound and sagacious policies 
appropriate to a great nation having pro- 
found destinies to fulfill,- the demagoguery 
of a party is substituted when powerful 
enemies confront her, nothing effectual will 
be accomplished. 

The most dangerous power is an abstract 
sentiment in control of the public authority. 

It is only with prudence, sagacity, and 
much dexterity that great aims are ac- 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

complished, and all obstacles surmounted. 
Otherwise nothing is accomplished. 

Power is most dangerous when the public 
authority is obsessed by an abstract senti- 

Government is difficult when one is con- 

One may lose popularity by a peccadillo 
as well as by a stroke of statesmanship; 
when one knows the art of reigning, one 
stakes his credit only on careful consider- 

What constitutes popularity? Good 
natured complaisance? Who was more 
popular, more complaisant than the unfor- 
tunate Louis xvi? But what was his fate? 
He perished! The truth is that one ought 
to serve his people worthily, and not strive 
solely to please them. The best way to gain 
a people is to do that which is best for them. 
Nothing is more dangerous than to flatter 
a people. If it does not get what it wants 
immediately, it is irritated and thinks that 


Things Political 

promises have not been kept; and if then it 
is resisted, it hates so much the more as it 
feels itself deceived. 

One does not govern a nation by half- 
measures. In all public acts force, order, 
and consistency are necessary. 

The duties of the head of the nation are 
not those of the people. The duty of the 
people is to obey the laws. 

The thing to avoid is not so much error 
as self-contradiction. It is especially by 
the latter that authority loses its force. 

Lead the ideas of your time and they will 
accompany and support you; fall behind 
them and they drag you along with them; 
oppose them and they will overwhelm you. 

There is no such thing as an absolute 
despotism; it is only relative. A man can- 
not wholly free himself from obligation to 
his fellows. A sultan who cut off heads 
from caprice, would quickly lose his own 
in the same way. Excesses tend to check 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

themselves by reason of their own violence. 
What the ocean gains in one place it loses 
in another. 

We are made weak both by idleness and 
distrust of ourselves. Unfortunate, indeed, 
is he who suffers from both. If he is a 
mere individual he becomes nothing; if he 
is a king he is lost. 

A prince should suspect everything. 

In politics, an absurdity is not an impedi- 

One who wants to be a force in govern- 
ment must be ready to put himself in peril; 
if need be, to dare assassination. 

Government must be administered for 
the general good without worrying about 
whether it pleases this or that individual. 
If one attempts a middle course, serving 
each party, he attempts an absurd equili- 
brium, arouses dissatisfaction in the great 
majority where good sense is always found; 
for it is the acquiescence of the great body 


Things Political 

of the people that makes public opinion 

Public opinion is the thermometer a 
monarch should constantly consult. 

It must not be forgotten that rigorous 
authority and justice are the kindness of 
kings. The kindness of kings and that of 
individuals are not to be confounded. 

I do not allow myself to be imposed upon 
by reputations. Former services I consider 
only a school in which one ought to have 
learned to serve better. Within a short time 
I have become an old administrator. The 
most difficult art is not in the choice of men, 
but in giving to the men chosen the highest 
service of which they are capable. 

The great orators who sway assemblies 
by the brilliancy of their speech, are in gen- 
eral very ordinary statesmen. It is useless 
to contend with them by words; they will 
always have more sonorous phrases than 
yours. The thing to do is to meet their 
glibness with precise, logical reasoning. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

Their strength is in vagueness. One must 
pin them down to facts. This method is 
death to their pretensions. 

Immorality is, without possibility of con- 
tradiction, the worst thing that can be found 
in a sovereign, for the reason that it at once 
makes immorality fashionable. It is emu- 
lated as a point of honor. It fortifies all 
vices, strikes at all virtue, infects society 
with a veritable plague. It is the scourge of 
a nation. 

I would conceive a bad opinion of a gov- 
ernment all of whose edicts were drafted in 
a literary style. The true art is that each 
edict have the style and character of the 
class it affects. 

Wherever there is a source of incontest- 
able power, men will be found to draw it to 

France is the country where officials have 
the least influence. To rely on them is to 
build on sand. Great things are done in 
France only by relying on the people. More- 


Things Political 

over a government ought to seek its support 
from that very source. 

Posterity alone rightly judges kings. Pos- 
terity alone has the right to accord or with- 
hold honors. 

Democracy exalts sovereignty; but aris- 
tocracy alone maintains it. 

The trade of being a king is not child's 
play in this century. It is inevitable that 
the manners of kings should change with 
the manners of the people. In order to have 
the right to the services of the people, it is 
necessary to begin by serving them well. 

We must distinguish between the acts 
of a sovereign, as such, and those of an 
individual who is unconstrained as to his 
opinions. State policy permits, and even 
requires, in the one, what should be without 
excuse in the other. 

A government in appealing to the intelli- 
gence of all its citizens, acts in its own 
interest and strengthens the social edifice; 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

every citizen ought to be interested in the 
security of the state. 

A throne is only a bench covered with 

Obedience to public authority ought not 
to be based either on ignorance or stupidity. 

No constitution continues unchanged ; 
the change it undergoes depends on men 
and circumstances. If there are objections 
to an overstrong government, there are still 
more to a weak one. Every day it is con- 
strained to violate positive laws ; there is no 
other way to do. Without doing it, it is 
impossible to get along. 

I had Baumont and two hundred others 
in the west arrested as grain smugglers. 
There was not a single minister who might 
not have been accused. The government 
could not be arbitrary, because it did not 
have the support of a feudal system, a class 
financially interested in it, nor prejudices. 
The day the government should become 
arbitrary it would lose the support of public 


Things Political 

opinion and would be lost. There was need 
of an extraordinary council for these un- 
foreseen cases. The senate served very 

I complained of wrongs done a French- 
man at Venice, and demanded reparation. 
They urged the laws as a difficulty in the 
way. I threatened to destroy them and 
pointed out that they had the Council of 
Ten and the Judges of the Inquisition, etc. 
The Judges of the Inquisition easily found 
a way to meet my demands. 

The true policy of a government is to 
make use of aristocracy, but under the 
forms and in the spirit of democracy. 

A form of government which is not the 
result of a long series of emergencies, of 
misfortunes, and of efforts and attempts on 
the part of a people, will never take very 
deep root. 

A prince should never allow the spirit of 
intrigue and faction to triumph over his 
authority, or a mean spirit of unsteadiness 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

and opposition to discredit that fundamental 
sovereignty which is the foundation of 
social order and the true source of all that 
benefits a people. 

The old patched monarchies will last only 
as long as the people do not realize their 
own power. Such structures always perish 
through their foundations. 

Legislation is a weapon that a govern- 
ment ought always to use when national 
prosperity is in danger. 

The men who have changed the universe 
have never accomplished it by changing 
officials but always by inspiring the people. 

Prudence is good when one has the choice 
of means. When one hasn't, it is daring 
which achieves success. 

Republics are not to be made from old 

In revolutions everything is speedily for- 
gotten. The good that you do today will 
be forgotten tomorrow. Conditions once 


Things Political 

changed, gratitude, friendship, relationship 
all ties are broken, and each person seeks 
his own interest. 

In national crises, the reasonable man is 
the one who is considered feeble, because 
passion resembles force. 

A man at the head of a struggling party 
in civil turmoil is called a rebel chief. But 
when he has succeeded, when he has done 
great deeds, and established his country and 
himself, he is given the name of general, and 
sovereign, and that sort of thing. It is 
success that gives him the title. If he had 
been unfortunate he would have continued 
to be a rebel chief, and perhaps have per- 
ished on the scaffold. It is success which 
makes men great. 

Anarchy invariably leads to arbitrary 

Provisional governments placed in diffi- 
cult circumstances ought to concern them- 
selves exclusively with the public safety and 
the interests of the country. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

It is inevitable that a government which 
follows the storms of revolution and which 
is menaced by enemies from without and 
disturbed by intrigue within, will be some- 
what harsh. 

Insurrection and the emigration of the 
nobility are diseases of the skin. Terrorism 
is an internal disease. 

In revolutions, like attracts like, as it does 
in the physical world. 

A universal rule: Never a revolution 
without terror. 

Among nations and in revolutions, aris- 
tocracy always exists. If you attempt to 
get rid of it by destroying the nobility, it 
immediately re-establishes itself among the 
rich and powerful families of the third 
estate. Destroy it there, and it survives and 
takes refuge among the leaders of workmen 
and of the people. A prince gains nothing 
by this shifting of aristocracy. On the con- 
trary he re-establishes stable conditions by 
permitting it to continue as it is, readjust- 


Things Political 

ing, however, the old order to the new 

With good fortune one renders a people 
glorious ; it requires much firmness to make 
them happy. 

Sooner or later the public interests over- 
come minor prejudices. 

In order that a people may be free, it is 
necessary that the governed be sages, and 
those who govern, gods. 

Incidents should not govern state pol- 
icies; but state policies, incidents. 

Neutrality consists in having equal 
weights and measures for each. In state- 
craft it is nonsense, for our interest always 
lies with the triumph of one or the other. 

Constitutions are good only as we make 
progress under them. 

The policy which is not moral must glo- 
rify morality. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

Display is to power what ceremony is to 

Commerce unites men. Whatever unites 
men leads them to act together. Commerce 
is therefore essentially dangerous to arbi- 
trary authority. 

One may risk a coup d'etat to gain power, 
but never to strengthen it; for in that case 
the supreme authority is attacked. 

The laws of circumstance are abolished 
by new circumstances. 

A good philosopher makes a bad citizen. 

A man will fight harder for his interests 
than for his rights. 

To win confidence in advance of success, 
is the most difficult political accomplish- 

When deplorable weakness and indecision 
manifest themselves in the counsels of 
power; when, yielding in turn to the influ- 


Things Political 

ence of opposing parties, and living from 
day to day without fixed plans or a deter- 
mined policy, it has shown the completeness 
of its incapacity, and when the most mod- 
erate citizens are forced to admit that the 
state is no longer governed ; when, in fact, 
to its incompetency the administration suf- 
fers, what in the eyes of a proud people is 
the greatest humiliation possible, I mean to 
say the contempt of foreign nations, then 
a vague inquietude spreads throughout the 
community, concern for national preserva- 
tion arises, and, turning its gaze on itself, 
it seems to search for a man able to save it. 
Such a tutelary genius (See Note 2) every 
numerous nation contains within itself, 
though sometimes he is slow in appearing. 
In truth, it is not sufficient that he exists, 
he must be known he must know himself. 
Until then all efforts are vain, all expedients 
fail. The mere inertia of the majority 
saves the phantom government, and, in spite 
of its incapacity and weakness, the efforts 
of its enemies do not prevail against it. But 
let this liberator, impatiently awaited, sud- 
denly give a sign of his existence, the 
national instinct at once divines him and 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

calls him. Obstacles vanish before him, and 
the whole nation, as by a common impulse, 
following in his train seems to say : There 
is the man ! 

If obedience is the result of the instinct of 
the masses, revolt is the result of their 

The people are capable of good judgment 
when they do not listen to demagogues. 
Ranters never help matters any, and always 
make them worse. 

In revolutions there are only two sorts of 
men, those who cause them and those who 
profit by them. 

Thrones are never repaired. 

A revolution is an opinion which utilizes 

Some revolutions are inevitable. There 
are moral eruptions, just as the outbreak of 
volcanoes are physical eruptions. When the 
chemical combinations which produce them 


Things Political 

are complete, the volcanic eruptions burst 
forth, just as revolutions do when the moral 
factors are in the right state. In order to 
foresee them the trend of ideas must be 
understandingly observed. 

A revolution is a vicious circle it is 
caused by excesses and it brings them. 

Young men accomplish revolutions which 
older men have prepared. 

Once committed to a course, a people is 
riot to be stopped. 

There is room for neither passion nor 
prejudice in public affairs; the only permis- 
sible passion is that for the public welfare. 

Charles the First perished because he 
resisted, Louis xvi because he did not. 
Neither comprehended the strength of inertia 
which is the secret of great reigns. 

In statesmanship there are predicaments 
from which it is impossible to escape with- 
out some wrongdoing. 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

One can lead a nation only by helping it 
see a bright outlook. A leader is a dealer 
in hope. 

It is rare that a legislature reasons. It 
is too quickly impassioned. 

Large legislative bodies resolve them- 
selves into coteries, and coteries into jeal- 

Nations must be saved in spite of them- 

Parties weaken themselves by their fear 
of capable men. 

A political faction never tolerates a 
permanent leader. It needs one for each 

During the Revolution the French were 
never without a king. 

The hereditary character of orders of 
nobility deprives both noble and commoner 
of the spirit of emulation. 


Things Political 

Necessity can be overcome only by abso- 
lute power. 

A revolution is effected when it is only 
necessary to get rid of one man. 

Absolute power represses ambitions and 
makes selection ; democracy unchains all 
without examination. 

A usurper has had too many masters not 
to begin by being arbitrary. 

Nothing should resemble a man less than 
a king. 

( /I will be the Brutus of kings and the 
Caesar of the republic. 

Discipline is permanent only as it is ap- 
propriate to the character of the nation. 

Never have national assemblies combined 
prudence and energy, wisdom and vigor. 

Under a system of absolute government, 
only one will is necessary to destroy an 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

abuse; under a representative system, five 
hundred are necessary. 

The people never choose real legislators. 

In spite of all their horrors, revolutions 
are nevertheless the true cause of regener- 
ation in public customs. 

Democracy may become frenzied, but it 
has feelings and can be moved. As for aris- 
tocracy, it is always cold and never forgives. 

I have a very poor opinion of a govern- 
ment which lacks the power to interdict the 
things that are capable of causing friction 
with foreign governments. 

I espouse no party but the masses. My 
policy is to complete the fusion of the whole 

The institution of a national nobility is 
not contrary to equality. It is necessary to 
maintain the social order. No social order 
has ever been established on agrarian laws. 
The principle of private property and of 


Things Political 

transmission by contract of sale, by gift 
during life, or by will, is a fundamental 
principle which does not detract from equal- 
ity. From this principle is derived the cus- 
tom of transmitting from father to son the 
remembrance of services rendered to the 
state. Fortunes are sometimes acquired by 
means shameful or criminal. Titles acquired 
by services to the state rise from a pure and 
honorable source. Their transmission to 
posterity is only simple justice (See Note 

I must govern all without regard to what 
each has done. They have rallied to me to 
enjoy security. They would abandon me 
tomorrow if matters became problematical. 

The laws of most countries are made to 
oppress the unfortunate and to protect the 

We frustrate many designs against us by 
pretending not to see them. 

Those who avenge on principle are fero- 
cious and implacable, 


Napoleon in His O<wn Words 

The name and the power of government 
signify nothing, provided citizens are equal 
in their rights, and that justice is well ad- 

There are only two classes in Europe, 
those who want privileges, and those who 
spurn them. 

The man the least free is the man bound 
to party. 

Nothing goes well in a political system 
where words play with things. 

Social law is able to give all men the same 
rights, though nature will never give them 
equal abilities. 

Prosperity is the best tie between prince 
and people. 

Government ought to be a continuous 

The susceptibility of a government is its 
own accusation of weakness. 


Things Political 

All governments ought to see men only 
in mass. 

It is the unity of interests which makes 
the strength of governments. 

Absolute power must be essentially pater- 
nal ; otherwise it will be overthrown. 

Every man who is worth thirty millions 
and is not wedded to them, is dangerous to 
the government. 

In the last analysis there must be a mili- 
tary quality in government. One governs 
a horse only with boots and spurs. 

The foundation of all authority is in the 
advantage of those who obey. 

The wars of the Revolution have en- 
nobled the entire French nation. 

Appealing to foreigners is a criminal act. 

A party which sustains itself only by 
foreign bayonets is vanquished. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

The old nobility would have continued to 
exist if it had not been more concerned with 
branches than with roots. 

Out of a hundred favorites of kings, 
ninety-five have been hanged. 

The court, taken collectively, exercises no 
direct influence on the tone and the man- 
ners of a nation. It affects these only 
because its elements, those who compose it, 
spread, each in his own sphere of activity, 
that which they have drawn from the 
common source. The tone of the court, 
therefore, affects the whole nation only by 
spreading through the various ranks of so- 

It is a great mistake of the court not to 
give itself leadership. 

The old nobility would have survived if 
it had known enough to become master of 
writing materials. 

A prince who is afraid is liable to be 
overthrown at any moment. 

Things Political 

To listen to the interests of all, marks an 
ordinary government; to foresee them, 
marks a great government. 

A sovereign ought to occupy himself with 
seeking the good that is in the bad, and 

A government can live only in accordance 
with its own principles. 

The wisdom of the chief of the state is 
to foresee events. At the very moment 
when he is the most beneficent he is accused 
of tyranny. 

It is not necessary that the chief of the 
^fate should be the chief of a party. 

The eminence of sovereigns depends on 
that of their peoples. 

A great monarch is the one who foresees 
results at all times. 

Palace troops are dangerous in proportion 
as the sovereign is absolute. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

It is good policy to make a people believe 
they are free. It is good government to 
make them as happy as they wish to be. 

The chief of state ought no more to 
abandon the government of ideas than the 
government of men. 

The expression " political virtue/' is non- 

Peace is the first of needs, as it is the 
first of glories. 

Peace ought to be the result of a system 
well considered, founded on the true inter- 
ests of the different countries, honorable to 
each, and ought not to be either a capitula- 
tion or the result of a threat. 

A sovereign who attaches himself to a 
faction unsteadies his bark and hastens 

The chief of state must cooperate even 
with the bad for the triumph of public af- 


Things Political 

A sovereign ought not to rely either on 
word or look. 

The conspirators who unite to shake off 
a tyranny, commence by submitting to that 
of a chief. 

Imagination has done more harm than 
facts. It is the capital enemy of monarchs. 

Honors are, for a sovereign, a moral 

It is by wounding the self-love of princes 
that we influence their deliberations. 

A material conspiracy is ended the mo- 
ment we seize the hand which holds the 
dagger; a moral conspiracy never ends. 

A state is better off with ministers of 
moderate ability who continue in office, than 
with able ones when changes are frequent. 

Indecision in fundamental things is to 
government what paralysis is to the move- 
ments of the limbs. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

Etiquette is the prison of kings. 

Public opinion is a mysterious, invisible 
power, which nothing can resist. Nothing 
is more changeable, more intangible, or 
stronger. And yet, capricious as it is, it is, 
nevertheless, right, reasonable, and just, 
much oftener than we are disposed to think 
it is. 

It is seldom that men of moderate ability, 
when in authority, have honest purposes; 
they always make a mess of things. 

Emergency legislation is itself an indict- 
ment of the power that enacts it. 

One can escape the arbitrariness of judges 
only by placing one's self under the despot- 
ism of law. 

The most deceptive policy is playing one 
faction against another, and flattering your- 
self that you dominate both. 

In my present situation (1814), I find 
nobility only in the rabble which I have 


Things Political 

neglected, and rabble only in the nobility I 
have created. 

L Compromises weaken power. 

In all public acts there should be strength, 
^perseverance, and singleness. 

When, among a people, all want place, 
one finds himself sold out in advance. 

The advent of cannon killed the feudal 
system; ink will kill the modern social or- 

I will respect the conclusions of public 
opinion when they are legitimate ; but public 
opinion has caprices one must scorn. 

In a government, it is not the inconse- 
quential who need watching, it is the strong. 
It is to the latter that it is necessary to 
direct constant attention. Loosen the rein 
on the great and at once they encroach on 
the sovereign. Why occupy one's self so 
muh with the rich? The rich have all the 
advantages that organized society gives. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

Their very wealth protects them far too 
well. The strength, the future of a gov- 
ernment, the power of a throne, are in the 
common people, and the dangers which 
menace it are in the strong. Sovereigns, 
protect the common people if you wish that 
in their turn they should protect you. 

Absolute power has no need to lie; it 
acts, and says nothing. A responsible gov- 
ernment is, always obliged to speak, and is 
led into ignoble lies. In a short time it 
becomes discredited and falls, scorned. 
Absolute power at least falls hated. 

Political laws compared with those of 
humanity have brief duration. They grow 
out of conditions and manners, and as con- 
ditions and manners change, they change 
with them. 

I have sown liberty with a bountiful 
hand wherever I have established my Civil 
Code (See Note 4). 

In all civilized countries, mere strength 
yields to civil requirements. Bayonets bow 

Things Political 

down before the priest who speaks in the 
name of heaven, and before the man who 
inspires respect by his knowledge. 

There are more chances of securing a 
good sovereign by heredity than by election. 

Such is the inevitable trend of these nu- 
merous bodies (the Chambers) ; they perish 
for lack of harmony. Leaders are as neces- 
sary to them as to armies. In the latter 
they are appointed. But men of great talent, 
the superior geniuses, make themselves 
masters of assemblies and of governments. 

The Revolution ought to teach that noth- 
ing is foreseen. 

The great powers suffer from indigestion. 

A king must not allow himself to be 
crushed by misfortune. 



I LOOK on scholars and wits as I do on 
coquettes. It is all right to call on either, 
to chat with them, but not to take a coquette 
for a wife, or the others for ministers. 

Great writers are but esteemed drivelers. 

A stupid is only a bore; a pedant is un- 

If the French language has become a 
universal language, it is to the genius of 
men of letters that we owe it. 

The French language is the most culti- 
vated modern language, and it is not neces- 
sary to go to any other for inscriptions for 

The French language is not a perfect 
language. It lacks many words. It im- 

Concerning the Fine Arts 

perfectly expresses a crowd of things a 
sound impression, a great thought. It is 
rather the language of wit than of genius. 

The classics are written by rhetoricians, 
while they ought to be written only by 
statesmen, or men of the world. 

A book in which there were no lies would 
be a curiosity. 

Books are too argumentative not to cor- 
rupt a nation by dishabituating it from fact. 

The only encouragement for poets are 
the places in the Institute, because these 
give to them a standing in the nation. 

The art of the sovereign, like that of the 
minister, is to give refulgence to good 

There ought to be power to give pensions 
to men of letters. To those who are in need, 
the Minister of Interior gives 200,000 francs 
per annum, by way of relief. It is a dis- 
agreeable form of disbursing it, and has 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

nothing in keeping with the national source 
from which it comes. It is charity. 

All men of genius, and all those who 
have gained rank in the republic of letters, 
are brothers, whatever may be the land of 
their nativity. 

Newspapers are not history, any more 
than bulletins are. 

Historians too often make history un- 
intelligible by their ignorance, or by their 
laziness. When they do not understand, or 
do not know, they draw on their imagina- 
tion, instead of making researches which 
would lead them to the truth. 

History, as I take it, ought to present 
individuals or peoples just as they have 
shown themselves to be at the height of 
their accomplishment. Account must be 
taken of the external circumstances, which 
must necessarily exert a great influence on 
their actions ; and a clear view must be had 
of the limits within which this influence 
was exercised. The Roman Emperors 

Concerning the Fine Arts 

were not as bad as Tacitus painted them. 
Moreover, I much prefer Montesquieu to 
Tacitus. He is juster, and his criticism is 
more conformable to truth. 

It must be recognized that the real truths 
of history are hard to discover. Happily, 
for the most part, they are rather matters 
of curiosity than of real importance. There 
are so many verities ! This historical verity 
so much appealed to, which each zealously 
invokes, is too often only a word. Truth 
is impossible at the moment of events, in 
the heat of aroused passions; if, later, ac- 
cord is restored, only those interested re- 
main; there are none to controvert. But 
what really is this historical verity in most 
cases? a lie agreed on, as some one has 
very wittily said. In every matter there 
are two very distinct elements the actual 
facts, and the motives behind them. The 
actual facts, it would seem, ought to be 
incontrovertible; and yet, there are some 
which remain eternally in dispute. As to 
motives, what are the means of discovering 
them, even assuming the good faith of the 
narrators? And what will they be if the 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

narrators are actuated by bad faith, by in- 
terest and passion ? I have given an order, 
but who is able to read my innermost 
thought, my real intention? Yet, neverthe- 
less, each will take this order, measure it 
with his own yardstick, adjust it to his own 
theories, his individual beliefs. And each 
will hold firmly to what he relates. And 
the lesser writers who take it from these 
privileged lips will be as sure of it in their 
turn ! And then the memoirs and the diaries 
and the drawing-room anecdotes and witty 
speeches which follow in their train! That 
nevertheless is history. 

Little love scenes in tragedy are banal; 
our age is advancing, and everything must 
advance with it. 

History proves that detraction falls 
quickly into contempt. If detractors could 
only look through the mass of rubbish 
there is in the National Library that 
has been written against Henry iv and 
Louis xiv, they would be humiliated by 
their impotence; they have not left an im- 


Concerning the Fine Arts 

Verse is only the embroidery of the 
dramatic fabric. 

A good tragedy always grows better every- 
day. High tragedy is the school of great 
men. It is the duty of sovereigns to encour- 
age and promote it. It is not necessary to be 
a poet to judge it. It is sufficient to know 
men and things, to have elevation of mind, 
a statesmanlike outlook. 

France owes to Corneille some of her 
finest achievements. If he were alive, I 
would make him a prince. 

I love high tragedy ; the sublime, like that 
of Corneille. In tragedy great men are 
more truly great than in history. We see 
them only in the crises which unfold them, 
in the moments of supreme decision; and 
we are not burdened with all the preparatory 
details and conjectures, often false, which 
the historian gives us. There is equal gain 
for glory, for there is enough weakness, un- 
certainty, and doubt in men ; but there ought 
to be none in heroes. Tragedy should be 
an heroic statue in which nothing of the 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

weakness or quivering of the flesh is seen. It 
should be the " Perseus " of Benvenuto 
Cellini, that group sublime and true which 
owes its very existence (though its appear- 
ance gives no hint of it) to the pewter plates 
and dishes which the artist in the fury of 
desperation flung into his seething crucible 
to give his bronze the fit quality for his 

I am thankful that tragedy has thus mag- 
nified some men, or rather has given them 
the true stature of superior men in a mortal 
body. I have often wished that our poets 
had been able to do that for our modern 
heroes. And why not? Genius has not grown 
less since the time of Caesar. But our poets 
have known nothing of modern genius, not 
more of Henry iv than of Philip the Fair 
(See Note 5). 

Tragedy should be the school of kings 
and of nations. It forms the highest pin- 
nacle to which poets can attain. 

Melodramas are the tragedies of cham- 


Concerning the Fine Arts 

In the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, what I 
admire is the great strength joined to great 
simplicity which is exhibited. I am struck, 
more than by anything else, by the grada- 
tions of terror which characterize the pro- 
ductions of this father of tragedy. And 
there is there, moreover, the first spark 
from which has been kindled our beautiful 
modern flame. 

It is not fair to paint everything black, 
as Tacitus does. He has not sufficiently 
sought out the causes, and the interior 
springs, of events; he has not sufficiently 
studied the mystery of facts and of mo- 
tives. He has not sufficiently sought for 
and scrutinized their interplay, to transmit 
a just and impartial judgment to posterity. 

Dante is to me the greatest genius of 
modern times. Dante is a sun who shines 
in all his brilliancy in the midst of profound 
night. Everything in him is extraordinary. 
His originality, especially, assigns to him a 
rank apart. Ariosto has imitated the ro- 
mance of chivalry, and the poems of the 
ancients. Tasso has done the same thing. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

Dante has not deigned to take his inspira- 
tion from any other. He has wished to be 
himself, himself alone; in a word, to create. 
He has occupied a vast space, and has filled 
it with the superiority of a sublime mind. 
He is diverse, strong, and gracious. He 
has imagination, warmth, and enthusiasm. 
He makes his reader tremble, shed tears, 
feel the thrill of honor in a way that is the 
height of art. Severe and menacing, he has 
terrible imprecations for crime, scourgings 
for vice, sorrow for misfortune. As a citi- 
zen, affected by the laws of the republic, he 
thunders against its oppressors, but he is 
always ready to excuse his native city, 
Florence is ever to him his sweet, beloved 
country, dear to his heart. I am envious 
for my dear France, that she has never pro- 
duced a rival to Dante; that this Colossus 
has not had his equal among us. No, there 
is no reputation which can be compared 
to his. 

It is astonishing how poorly Voltaire 
bears reading (See Note 6). When the 
pomp and diction, the influence of the situa- 
tion, no longer mislead analysis or good 


Concerning the Fine Arts 

taste, then he loses a thousand per cent at 

Homer was the encyclopedist of his epoch 
(See Note 7). 

A prelate like Fenelon (See Note 8), is 
the finest gift heaven can bestow on a great 
city, and a government. 

I disapprove of giving La Fontaine to 
children not old enough to understand him 
(See Note 9). There is too much irony in 
the fable of the wolf and the lamb to bring 
it within the reach of children. It errs, 
moreover, to my mind in its purpose and 
its trend. It is not true that the right of 
the stronger is the better. And if it seems 
to be, that is the wrong, the abuse, that 
ought to be condemned. The wolf, there- 
fore, ought to have choked himself in eating 
the lamb. 

Well done as Racine's (See Note 10) 
masterpieces are in themselves, he has, nev- 
ertheless, flavored them with a perpetual 
gallantry, an eternal love, with his tone of 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

insipid sweetness, his tiresome surround- 
ings. But still it is not wholly his fault; 
it was the vice and the manners of his time. 
Love then, and later still, was the principal 
affair of life with everyone. It always is 
in the idle strata of society. As for us, we 
in our generation have been rudely dis- 
tracted from it by the Revolution and its 
stirring effects. 

Without question, Tar tuff e (See Note n) 
in its entirety, is from a master hand. It is 
the masterpiece of an inimitable man. Nev- 
ertheless, this play is of such a character 
that for my part I do not hesitate to say 
that if it had been written in my time I 
would not have permitted it to be presented. 

Gil Bias is witty (See Note 12), but he 
deserved the galleys, he and all of his. 

The Genius of Christianity, by De Cha- 
teaubriand (See Note 13), is a work of lead 
and gold, but the gold predominates. 

La Harpe (See Note 14) was a man 
without genius, without imagination, freez- 


Concerning the Fine Arts 

ingly cold to his neighbors. He was later a 
rabid devotee without being more sincere. 
He conspired against the state through 

Everything that is great and national in 
character ought to acknowledge the genius 
of De Chateaubriand. 

I read a few chapters of Madame de 
Stael's (See Note 15) Corinne, but I 
couldn't finish it. Madame de Stael has 
drawn herself so well in her heroine, that 
she has succeeded in making me cordially 
hate her. I see her, I hear her, I feel her, 
I want to get away from her, and I throw 
down the book. 

The home of Madame de Stael at Coppet 
became a veritable arsenal against me. 
Thither came many to be armed as knights 
against me. She occupied herself in stir- 
ring up enemies against me, and fought me 
herself. She was at the same time Armide 
and Clorinde (See Note 16). And yet, 
after all, it is only true to say that no one 
can deny that Madame de Stael is a woman 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

of very great talent, greatly distinguished, 
and of much strength of character. She 
will endure. 

Beaumarchais (See Note 17) was a man 
without morals, without principle, a dealer 
in literature, rather than a man of letters; 
aspiring to fortune and finding every means 
good by which he could reach it; endowed 
with a keen mind, observant, mocking, and 
satirical; carrying audacity to effrontery; 
insolent with the great, eating from their 
hand; armored against all infamies, and 
sacrificing everything to his insatiable de- 
sire to be the most talked of man in Paris. 
Under my reign such a man would have 
been locked up as a madman. It would 
have been called arbitrary, but what a serv- 
ice it would have been to society. 

The Theatre Frangaise (See Note 18) 
ought to be supported because it is a part 
of the national glory. But it ought to re- 
duce the price of seats in the parquette, to 
twenty sous on Sunday, in order that the 
people may be able to enjoy it. We do not 
have to do things always just as they have 


Concerning the Fine Arts 

been done in the past, as if it were impos- 
sible to do better. 

The division of labor, which has brought 
such perfection in mechanical industries, is 
altogether fatal when applied to productions 
of the mind. All work of the mind is 
superior in proportion as the mind that 
produces it is universal. 

It is scarcely to be believed, yet at the 
time of the Revolution Voltaire had de- 
throned Corneille and Racine. We were 
asleep to the beauties of these; it was the 
First Consul who brought about the awak- 

You can't do anything with a philosopher. 

It has been the desire of my heart to 
see the artists of France surpass the glory 
of Athens and of Italy. 

The Arcs de Triomphe would be futile 
work, serving no purpose, and I would not 
have built them if I had not thought them 
a means of encouraging architecture. I 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

hoped with the Arcs de Triomphe to nourish 
the architecture of France for twenty years. 

In science the world of details is yet to 
be discovered. 

Opera costs the government eight hun- 
dred thousand francs a year; it is necessary 
to sustain an establishment which flatters 
the national vanity. Grand Opera alone 
should be permitted to produce ballets. 

Why did not the Revolution, w r hich de- 
stroyed so much, demolish the Chateau 
of Versailles? I would not have a fort of 
Louis xiv on my hands, and to tolerate an 
old, badly built chateau, is to make of it, 
as one has said, " a favorite without merit " 
(See Note 19). 



THERE ought to be authority to give 
pensions to men who have rendered 
service as civil functionaries, such as pre- 
fects, superior judges, counsellors of state, 
and to their widows. When there is no 
future for public functionaries, they abuse 
their places. The Directory, unable to give 
pensions, gave a pecuniary interest in official 
business, something very reprehensible. 

A French functionary ought to excite 
envy always, never pity. 

More character is required in adminis- 
tration than in war. 

The thing is, not to select the man whom 
the place fits, but the man who fits the place. 

Great functionaries, however economical 
and even parsimonious they may be in their 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

private life, should be generous and free- 
handed in their public life. 

The emoluments of public employes ought 
to be such as to permit a style of living cor- 
responding to the importance of their func- 
tions. The French ought to maintain in 
everything an attitude befitting the repre- 
sentatives of the greatest nation in the 

Laws which are consistent in theory often 
prove chaotic in practice. 

In practical administration, experience is 

The prefects (See Note 20), with all the 
authority and the local resources with which 
they found themselves invested, were em- 
perors on a small scale. And as their whole 
power came from the appointing power, of 
which they were but the instruments, as all 
the influence they had arose from their im- 
mediate employment, and none of it from 
their own individuality, and as they owned 
none of the soil they ruled, they had all the 


advantages of the old despotic functionaries, 
without any of their disadvantages. It had 
been absolutely necessary to give this ex- 
tensive power. I found myself dictator; 
circumstances had willed it thus. It was 
therefore necessary that the system center- 
ing in me, should be in perfect harmony 
with my will; otherwise there was danger 
of it breaking down. The governmental 
network with which I covered the country, 
necessitated keen tension, and perfect elas- 
ticity, if we were to repel promptly and 
effectively the terrific blows constantly aimed 
at us. 

There must of necessity be some inter- 
mediary means between the people and the 
executive power, otherwise nothing will be 

There is too much centralization of 
power in France. I wish there were less 
authority in Paris, and more in each local- 

Without system and method, administra- 
tion becomes chaos, and there is neither 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

public finances nor public credit ; and private 
fortunes collapse with the collapse of the 

France abounds in practical, capable men ; 
the thing is to find them, and to give 
them the means of proving themselves. 
There are men at the plow who ought to be 
in the Council of State; and ministers of 
state who ought to be at the plow. 

I wish there were a teaching body which 
should be a nursery of teachers, school prin- 
cipals, and schoolmasters, and would arouse 
in them a splendid spirit of emulation. 
Young men who devote themselves to teach- 
ing ought to have the prospect of rising 
from one grade to another to the highest 
places in the state. The feet of this great 
teaching body should be in the schools, and 
its head in the Senate. But the principle 
of celibacy is necessary, to this extent, that 
schoolmasters ought not to be allowed to 
marry until they are twenty-five or thirty 
years of age, and have reached a salary of 
three or four thousand francs a year, and 
have made sufficient economies. This is, 


after all, only the application of the cus- 
tomary foresight as to marriage in all ranks 
of society. 

I am conscious that in the matter of the 
instruction of youth, the Jesuits have left 
a very great void. I have no wish to re- 
establish them, or any other body subject 
to alien control. But I do believe myself 
under obligations to organize a system of 
education for the rising generation in such 
a way that oversight of its political and 
moral opinions may be secured. 

I believe also that it is wise in this organ- 
ization to require celibacy up to a certain 
age; not absolute celibacy, for, without con- 
tradiction, marriage is the perfect social 

This teaching body should be so consti- 
tuted that records will be kept of each child 
above nine years of age. 

The Frenchman is so inclined to be in- 
fatuated with the foreigner that it is, per- 
haps, not necessary to teach pupils foreign 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

languages. One of the obstacles to the re- 
establishment of our marine is the high 
opinion that our sailors have of the supe- 
, riority of the English. It was Prusso-mania 
which lost the battle of Rossbach (See Note 


There will never be a fixed policy of state 
until there is a teaching body with fixed 
principles. As long as no one is taught from 
childhood that it is necessary to be a re- 
publican or a monarchist, Catholic or with- 
out religion, the state will never form a 
nation. It will rest on uncertain and un- 
stable foundations. It will be constantly 
subject to disorders and changes. 

It is affirmed that the schools maintained 
by the lay Brothers are likely to introduce 
in the University a dangerous element, and 
it is proposed to exclude them from its jur- 
isdiction. I cannot understand the species 
of fanaticism w r ith which some persons are 
animated against the lay Brothers. It is 
purely a prejudice. Moreover, those who 
propose to leave the Brothers outside the 
University do not realize that they are going 


counter to their own purposes. It is by 
including them in the University that they 
will become a part of the civil order, and 
the danger of their independence will be 
forestalled. They will not be dangerous 
when they no longer have a foreign or an 
unknown head (See Note 22). 

There is no necessity for granting too 
easily the degree of Doctor of the Univer- 
sity. The postulant ought to be examined 
on matters more difficult; for example, on 
the comparison of languages. There would 
be nothing out of the way in requiring a 
candidate to speak in Latin for an hour and 
a half. It is not necessary that everybody 
should become a doctor. 

I have never intended that professors 
should undertake the establishment of col- 
leges on their own account. That would be 
ridiculous. On the other hand, I have never 
wanted their stipends to be fixed indepen- 
dently of the number of students. I have 
believed their stipends should be in propor- 
tion to the increase in the number of stu- 
dents, so that they would have an interest 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

in the success of these establishments. 
Moreover, it is not possible to have a uni- 
form scale of stipends. They must be 
graded according to locality and merit. 

There are some changes to be made in 
the authority regarding publications which 
it is proposed to give the University. It is 
not necessary that it should arrogate any 
power to itself to repress works which are 
published by others. Its rights should be 
limited to replying to them, to putting them 
on the expurgatory index of the University, 
and to punishing professors who avail 
themselves of such works in their teaching. 
These means will be sufficient to prevent 
youth from being carried away by the thou- 
sand jarring errors that assail them, or 
being drawn into scientific or literary her- 

The religious orders would be the best 
teaching bodies if they could renounce their 
allegiance to a foreign head. 

The project of a school of arts and crafts 
for the children of soldiers and sailors, has 


been considered for the purpose of giving 
them an education suitable to their station. 
It may be said that it would be better to 
apprentice them to masters. But that would 
answer only for a year or two, and would 
fail very soon. There is, moreover, a po- 
litical purpose. It is important. There 
should be a bringing together of all classes, 
and in a national spirit. We have already 
followed this system for the middle classes. 
The Lycees (See Note 23) should supply 
lawyers, doctors, and educated soldiers. In 
order to extend this to the lower classes 
two other schools should be established, and 
in them should be placed the children of 
the newly annexed departments in order 
that they may be taught French. It is from 
among these that we will one day take the 
workmen for our ports for our military 
workshops and for our colonies. 

The law looks on the Commissioners of 
War as civil agents only, while more cour- 
age and military skill are required of them 
than even of military officers. The courage 
required is essentially moral. It is never 
the result of anything but association with 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

danger. . . . One is revolted in hearing 
daily individuals of different bureaus ad- 
mit, and even almost glory in, having had 

Our system of finance should consist in 
the creation of a great number of indirect 
contributions, of which the very moderate 
rate would be capable of being increased to 
the measure of need. 

It seems that the price of stocks, in Paris, 
is everybody's business except that of the 
real owners. The so-called buyers and 
sellers do nothing, in fact, but make bets 
with one another that such will be at 
such a time the state of the market. Each 
of them, in order to make a living, tries to 
direct the policies of the whole of Europe 
toward the end he desires. Each invents, 
comments on, or misrepresents the facts, 
penetrates the councils and the cabinets of 
ministers, the secrets of courts; makes am- 
bassadors speak; decides peace and war; 
stirs up and misleads opinion, always so avid 
of novelties and of errors, especially in 
France, that the more one misleads it the 



more empire he has over it. And this scan- 
dalous influence is not alone exercised by 
that crowd of adventurers called stock-job- 
bers. The stock-brokers themselves, to 
whom all personal speculation is interdicted 
by the nature of their business, take advan- 
tage of their position and buy and sell on 
their own account. Often they become op- 
posed in interest to those, even, whom they 
call their clients. Public morals alone would 
require the suppression of this abuse, and 
still other motives join with this. The 
rights of liberty end where abuses com- 

I do not want to have the appearance of 
presenting a law for the reestablishment of 
the salt tax (See Note 24). It is not that 
I would fear to reestablish it if I thought it 
useful to the nation; but if I did, I would 
do it openly and above board. I am some- 
times a fox, but I know how to be a lion. 

Commerce is only possible by reason of 
confidence. There can be no confidence un- 
der a feeble government. There is no 
confidence in a country rent by factions. 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

Commerce is an honorable calling, but its 
essential base must be prudence and econ- 
omy. The merchant must not gain his for- 
tune as one gains a battle; he should make 
little, but constantly. 

I want to do what is best for my people, 
and I will not be deterred by the murmurs 
of the taxpayers. France needs large rev- 
enues. They will be secured. I want to 
establish and systematize for my successors 
such resources as will supply them with the 
extraordinary means which I have been able 
to create. 

Why is there no public spirit in France? 
It is because the land owner is obliged to 
make his court to the administration. If 
he is not in its favor, he can be ruined. 
Decisions in land title cases are arbitrary. 
It is from this that in no other nation is 
there such servile attachment to the govern- 
ment as in France, because only there is title 
to land dependent on the government. 
Nothing has ever been done for land titles 
in France. Whoever shall frame a good 
registration law will merit a statue. 


Finances founded on good agriculture 
will never be ruined. 

I would find it very useful to be able to 
refer to the Council of State the abuses 
committed by the prefects. The fear of 
this would restrain the few who give me 
cause of complaint. 

There is no need of any alliance between 
the Bank and the Treasury. Often a trifling 
transfer of funds would carry with it secrets 
of state. 

Courts of Special Instance (Special 
Courts) cannot be dangerous when the 
Supreme Court passes on their competency. 

It is easy to determine with precision 
misdemeanors which will come within the 
jurisdiction of these courts. I wish they 
could have jurisdiction in cases of attempts 
against the police, the crimes of second of- 
fenders, runaways from the galleys, and 
also crimes committed by malefactors oper- 
ating together. Simple individuals, like ju- 
rors, are intimidated by the sight of a band 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

of culpables. It has been thought, and 
rightly, that experienced judges would not 
be as susceptible to these impressions of 
fear. That is the true and only reason for 
establishing these courts of Special Instance. 

Care must be taken not to give the Court 
of Appeals such powers as will, insensibly, 
lead it to go into questions of fact. 

Do not imagine that the power to pardon 
can be exercised with impunity, or that so- 
ciety will applaud every use of it by the 
monarch. Society will disapprove when it 
is extended to felons, to murderers, because 
then it becomes dangerous to the social 

It is in sentences for violation of fiscal 
regulations, and, more particularly still, in 
those for political delinquencies, that clem- 
ency is well placed. In these matters the 
theory is that it is the sovereign who has 
been attacked, and therefore there is a cer- 
tain nobility in pardon. At the first reports 
of an offense of this kind, the interested 
public ranges itself on the side of the cul- 



prit, and not on that of the punishing power. 
If the prince remits the punishment, the 
people think of him as superior to the 
offense, and opinion is turned against the 
offender. If the prince follows the opposite 
course, he gains the reputation of being 
hateful, and tyrannical. If he extends par- 
don in the case of odious crimes, he gains 
the reputation of being weak or evilly dis- 

Borrowing is the ruin of agricultural na- 
tions and the life of manufacturing ones. 

The luxuries of the rich give necessaries 
to the poor. 

In the application of laws it is necessary 
to take into consideration the non-producers. 

Our system of jurisprudence is a patch- 
work. It is not based on comprehensive 
general principles. 

It is a mistake to suppose that the jury 
system is strongly intrenched in public 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

There is nothing requiring that juries 
shall be selected from the whole body of 
the population. Why should there be such 
a hodge-podge, associating men without in- 
telligence with men of education, to the dis- 
gust of the latter? 

The police invent more than they find. 

Every indulgence to culprits suggests com- 

Strong reasons have been urged both for 
and against the jury system. But there is 
no dissimulating the fact that a tyrannical 
government would have much more success 
with juries than with judges who are less 
under their control, and who always would 
oppose to it more resistance; moreover, the 
bloodiest tribunals have had juries. If they 
had been composed of magistrates, mere 
custom and formalities would have been a 
rampart against unjust and arbitrary con- 
demnations. The severity which the con- 
tinual exercise of these functions so fre- 
quently brings is not greatly to be feared 
when the procedure is public, and the de- 



fendants are represented by counsel, with 
the right of argument (See Note 25). 

To interpret the law is to corrupt it; 
lawyers strangle laws. 

A magistrate ought to have courage equal 
to all proofs, and, for example, like Presi- 
dents Harley and Mole (See Note 26), be 
ready to perish in defending the sovereign, 
the throne, and the laws. The most glorious 
death would be that of a soldier on the field 
of honor, if the death of a magistrate in 
defense of the sovereign, the throne, and 
the laws, were not more glorious still. 

One means of reducing litigation by half 
would be to pay lawyers only when they 
won their case. But I have never been able 
to impress this idea on the Council of State. 

Treaties are observed as long as they are 
in harmony with interests. 

I wish that property in mines, once con- 
ceded, should become the same as other 
kinds of property; that contests regarding 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

it should be submitted to the ordinary 
courts, and that we entrust the duty of 
thoroughly working the mines to the interest 
of the individuals who will come to own 
them in perpetuity. Fathers will be stim- 
ulated by the interests of their children. 
That is the disposition of the human heart. 
The whole world builds palaces and plants 
trees for the generations to come. Mine 
owners would recognize that instead of dig- 
ging from the surface, it is necessary to 
drive levels. They will not want to forfeit 
the advantages of a comprehensive system 
of future development for a trifling and 
temporary advantage. 

The national character makes it necessary 
that the liberty of the press be limited to 
works of a substantial character. News- 
papers should be subjected to severe police 
regulations (See Note 27). 

A people which is able to say everything 
becomes able to do everything. 

It is conceivable that among a people 
where public opinion must influence every- 



thing, where it rightfully affects all minis- 
terial acts, and the deliberations of great 
state councils, that the press should be ab- 
solutely free. But our form of government 
does not call on the people to take part in 
political affairs. It is the Senate, the Coun- 
cil of State, and the Corps Legislative which 
think, which speak, and which act for 
them. In the English system, public opin- 
ion controls the government. The press, 
therefore, ought not to be prevented from 
criticising ministers, and censuring their 
acts. The disastrous effects of this are bal- 
anced by the institutions and the manners 
of the nation. 

After all, even in England, what benefits 
result from this license of the press against 
men in office? Does it reform them? Does 
it correct their morals? On the contrary, 
certain to be attacked whatever may be 
their conduct, the great, acting openly and 
without scruple, permit the torrent of criti- 
cism, and become all the more corrupt. 

Newspapers ought to be reduced to hand- 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

Diplomacy is the police in grand costume. 

Advice to diplomats: In your conversa- 
tion carefully avoid everything that might 
offend. Do not utter criticism of any cus- 
tom, nor write any ridicule. Every people 
has its own customs, and it is too much the 
habit of the French to compare everything 
with their own, and to offer themselves as 
models. That is a bad step which will hin- 
der your success by rendering you unbear- 
able in every society. 

As a woman of the old aristocracy could 
even give her body to a plebian, and not 
disclose to him the secrets of the aristocracy, 
so men accustomed to the usages of good 
society are alone the only possible ambas- 

Where treaties are concerned, an ambas- 
sador should take advantage of everything 
to work for the benefit of his country. 

I would prefer that French ambassadors 
should not have any privileges abroad, and 
that they should be arrested if they did not 


pay their debts, or if they conspired, rather 
than give privileges to foreign ambassadors 
in prance where they are more easily able 
to conspire, because France is a Republic. 
The people of France are unsophisticated 
enough. It is not necessary to increase the 
importance in their eyes of ambassadors 
whom they already look on as worth ten 
times as much as another man. It will be 
better to say nothing about it. The nation 
already has too much consideration for for- 

I do not maintain that the ceremonies of 
interment should be entirely free to people 
of small means, for their pride would pre- 
vent them from asking this favor. But it 
should be so that those who have this sort 
of vanity could gratify it cheaply. I also 
want the cemeteries embellished with chap- 
els and other customary ornaments. 

I want the Bank of France (See Note 28) 
to be just enough in the hands of the gov- 
ernment and not too much. I do not ask 
that it lend the government money, but that 
it provide facilities for realizing on its 

Nafi clean in His Own Words 

revenue cheaply, and at convenient times 
and places. 

It is a sound principle that commands and 
garrisons should be changed from time to 
time. The interest of the state requires that 
there shall be no irremovable places. The 
thought of unity should be confined to the 
unity of the Godhead. 

Among those who have learned their 
trades by practice, it is not easy to secure 
simplicity; the formalities of the Council of 
State prevented much simplification. 

Foreign commerce, infinitely below manu- 
factures and agriculture in its results, arises 
out of them, while they do not arise out of 
it. The interest of these three essential 
bases of the prosperity of nations are diver- 
gent, and often opposed to each other. They 
ought to be aided in the order of their 
national importance. 

The famous doctrine of laissez faire, lais- 
ser passer (See Note 29), will prove dan- 
gerous if accepted in too literal a manner. 



It is necessary to act on this maxim with 
prudence and discrimination. 

It is by comparison and example that 
agriculture, like all the other arts, must be 
perfected. In the departments which are 
still backward in methods of cultivation, the 
more well-to-do land owners should be in- 
duced to send their children to study the 
methods in use in the departments where 
agriculture is flourishing; and they can be 
induced to do so by encomiums and honors. 

I attach a great deal of importance, and 
a high ideal of glory, to the abolition of 

The emigres (See Note 30) who left 
France are more interesting than the men 
of the same class who did not go out, for 
they had the courage then to make war, and 
today to make peace. 

I want to take up the subject of Receivers 
General. They get altogether too much. 
The Receiver General of Aisne, for example, 
makes more than a hundred thousand francs 

Napoleon in His O<wn Words 

a year. It is scandalous. Half the Receiv- 
ers General make that much. The other 
half make from forty to fifty thousand 
francs a year at the least. 

I seek in vain where to place the limits 
between the civil and the religious authori- 
ties. The existence of such limits is a 
chimera. We ought to avoid any reawaken- 
ing of the ancient pretensions of the priests 
by these discussions. It is not that the 
priests are greatly to be feared. They have 
lost their empire never to regain it. The 
day of their superiority in the sciences has 
passed to the civil order. But they are a 
body which has permanent privileges. The 
authorities ought to handle them with cir- 

The monks formed the militia of the 
Pope, and they recognized no other sov- 
ereign. For the same reason they were 
more to be feared by the government than 
the secular clergy. The government is 
never embroiled except by them. ... I 
respect that which religion respects, but, as 
a statesman, I am not able to fall in love 


with the fanaticism of celibacy. Military 
fanaticism is the only kind which seems to 
me good for anything. That in time must 
be destroyed. My principal purpose in es- 
tablishing a teaching body is to have a 
means of directing political and moral opin- 
ions. This institution will be a guarantee 
against the reestablishment of the monks. 
There will be no more talk to me about it. 

A bad law enforced, does more good than 
a good law emasculated by judicial con- 

Every association is a government within 
the government. 

It is necessary to govern colonies with 
force; but there is no real force without 

The colonial system is ended. We must 
hold firmly to the free navigation of the 
sea, and to universal freedom of exchange. 

We have given all the whites over to the 
ferocity of the blacks, and we eveirthink the 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

victims ought not to be dissatisfied! Well, 
if I had been at Martinique (See Note 31) 
I would have been for the English, because, 
before all, one must save his life. I am for 
the whites because I am white. I have no 
other reason, and that is a good one. How 
was it possible to give freedom to Africans, 
to men who had no civilization, who did 
not even know what a colony was, what 
France was? It is very easy to say that 
those who wanted liberty for the blacks 
wanted bondage for the whites; but still, 
does anyone believe that if the majority of 
the Convention had known what they were 
doing, and known the colonies, they would 
have given freedom to the blacks? No, 
undoubtedly very few persons were in a 
position to foresee the results, and a senti- 
ment of humanity always acts powerfully 
on the imagination. But as a present mat- 
ter, to cling to these principles still, is not 
good faith; it is only pride and hypocrisy. 



THE honest man never doubts the exis- 
tence of God, for if reason does not 
suffice to comprehend Him, the instinct of 
the soul accepts Him. Everything that per- 
tains to the soul is in sympathy with the 
religious feeling. 

There are no men who understand them- 
selves better than soldiers and priests. 

Aristocracy is the spirit of the Old Testa- 
ment, democracy of the New. 

I am among those who think that the 
pains of the next world were imagined as 
a complement to the insufficient attractions 
that are offered us there. 

The existence of God is attested by every- 
thing that appeals to our imagination. And 
if our eye cannot reach Him it is because 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

He has not permitted our intelligence to go 
so far. 

Jesus Christ was the greatest republican. 

The merit of Mahomet is that he founded 
a religion without an inferno. 

Charity and alms are recommended in 
every chapter of the Koran as being the 
most acceptable services, both to God and 
the Prophet. 

It can be said of priests, as has been said 
of the tongue, that they are the worst of 
things or the best. 

The religious zeal which animates priests, 
leads them to undertake labors and to brave 
perils which would be far beyond the pow- 
ers of one in secular employment. 

Conscience is the most sacred thing among 
men. Every man has within him a still 
small voice, which tells him that nothing on 
earth can oblige him to believe that which 
he does not believe. The worst of all tyran- 

Concerning Religion 

nies is that which obliges eighteen-twentieths 
of a nation to embrace a religion contrary 
to their beliefs, under penalty of being de- 
nied their rights as citizens and of owning 
property, which, in effect, is the same thing 
as being without a country. 

The executive authority ought to be very 
careful not to intermeddle too much with 
the affairs of the clergy and of the priests. 
It is better to let the courts act, to oppose 
robe to robe, pride of profession to pride of 
profession. Judges, like priests, are, in their 
way, a kind of a body of theologians. They, 
also, have their maxims, their rules, and 
their canons. 

Fanaticism must be put to sleep before it 
can be eradicated. 

The philosophy of the gospel is the phi- 
losophy of equality, consequently the most 
favorable to republican government. 

Priests, in the genuine spirit of the gos- 
pel, ought to contribute to public tranquility 
by preaching the sound maxims of charity, 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

which are at the foundation of religion and 
of the gospel. 

Fanaticism is always the product of per- 

To enable parish priests to be truly use- 
ful, and to prevent them from making poor 
use of their ministry, I wish there were 
added to the course in theology, a course in 
agriculture, and in the elements of law, and 

Policemen and prisons ought never to be 
the means used to bring men back to the 
practice of religion. 

You cannot drag a man's conscience be- 
fore any tribunal, and no one is answerable 
for his religious opinions to any power on 

There is no place in a fanatic's head 
where reason can enter. 

Religious quarrels are not different from 
political quarrels; for, priests, soldiers, or 

Concerning Religion 

magistrates, we are all men. These quar- 
rels end by the intervention of some author- 
ity strong enough to compel all parties to 
get together and make up. 

Is it not a fact that the Catholic religion 
appeals more strongly to the imagination by 
the pomp of its ceremonies than by the 
sublimity of its doctrines? When you want 
to arouse enthusiasm in the masses, it is 
necessary, above all things, to appeal to their 

The sovereignty of the people, liberty, 
and equality, these are the code of the 

It is contrary to divine right to prevent a 
man, who needs to work on Sunday the 
same as other days of the week, from work- 
ing on Sunday, in order to earn his bread. 
The government has no right to enact such 
a law, unless it gives bread gratis to those 
who have none. For my part, if I under- 
took to interfere in the matter, I would be 
more disposed to order that after the hours 
of service on Sundays, the shops should be 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

opened, and that workmen should take up 
their work. 

In religion everything ought to be free 
and for the people. The requirement of 
paying at the door, or of paying for seats, is 
something revolting. The poor ought not to 
be punished simply because they are poor 
in that which consoles them for their pov- 
erty. I have never been willing that tickets 
of admittance to my chapel should be issued. 
I have always wanted the seats open to the 
first comers. 

The church ought to be in the state, and 
not the state in the church. 

One crushes a religious nation, one does 
not undermine it. 

The populace judges of the power of God 
by the power of the priests. 

I do not see in religion the mystery of 
the incarnation so much as the mystery of 
the social order. It introduces into the 
thought of heaven an idea of equalization, 


Concerning Religion 

which saves the rich from being massacred 
by the poor. 

It is with water, and not with oil, that 
theological volcanoes are put out. 

A parish priest ought to be a natural 
peacemaker, the chief moral influence of 
his people. 

Knowledge and history are the enemies 
of religion. 

Fanaticism is not the enemy most to be 
feared, but atheism. 

Religion is, after all, a sort of inocula- 
tion, or vaccination, which, in satisfying our 
love of the marvelous, indemnifies us against 
charlatans and magicians. Priests are worth 
more than the Cagliostros (See Note 32), 
the Kants (See Note 33), and all the dream- 
ers of Germany. 

Man's uneasiness is such, that the vague- 
ness and the mystery which religion pre- 
sents, are absolutely necessary to him. 

Napoleon in His O<wn Word's 

The atheist is a better subject than the 
fanatic; one obeys, the other kills. 

To fear death is to make profession of 

The intellectual anarchy which we are 
undergoing is the result of the moral anar- 
chy, the extinction of faith, the negation 
of principles, which have preceded. 

Philosophers vainly strive; they would 
establish systems, but they search in vain a 
better doctrine than that of Christianity, 
which has reconciled man with himself, in- 
sured the peace and public order of nations, 
and at the same time the happiness and the 
hope of individuals. 

Man loves the marvelous. It has an irre- 
sistible charm for him. He is always ready 
to leave that with which he is familiar to 
pursue vain inventions. He lends himself 
to his own deception. 

Our credulity is a part of the imperfec- 
tion of our natures. It is inherent in us to 

Concerning Religion 

desire to generalize, when we ought, on the 
contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully 
from this tendency. 

Who knows if the happiness of today 
may not be the misfortune of the morrow? 
Religion offers consolation in all phases of 
life. One is less unhappy when one believes. 
One finds from the very fact of belief, the 
strength within himself to support unhappi- 

The Christian religion will always be the 
most solid support of every government 
clever enough to use it. 



THERE are only two kinds of plans of 
campaign, the good and the bad. The 
good fail nearly always through unforeseen 
circumstances, which often make the bad 

A general must be a charlatan. 

Unhappy the general who comes on the 
field of battle with a system. 

The glory and honor of arms must be 
the first consideration of a general in giving 
battle, the safety and the conservation of 
his men is only secondary. But it is often 
in the audacity, in the steadfastness, of the 
general that the safety and the conserva- 
tion of his men is found. 

The gesture of a beloved general is worth 
more than a clever speech. 


A military man must have character as 
well as brains. Men who have brains but 
little character have no business in the pro- 
fession of arms. It is like a ship with too 
much sail for its hull. It is better to have 
character and not so much brains. Men 
who are only moderately supplied with 
brains, but who have character, often suc- 
ceed in this trade. You have got to have 
as much base as height. The man who has 
plenty of brains, and character in the same 
degree, he is a Caesar, a Hannibal, a Tu- 
renne (See Note 34), a Prince Eugene, or 
a Frederick the Great. 

Inevitable wars are always just. 

The military principles of Caesar were 
those of Hannibal, and those of Hanni- 
bal were those o>f Alexander to hold his 
forces in hand, not to be vulnerable at any 
point, to throw all his forces with rapidity 
on any given point. 

The presence of the general is necessary; 
he is the head, he is everything in an 
army. It was not the Roman army which 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

reduced Gaul, but Caesar. It was not the 
Carthaginian army which held the Repub- 
lican army trembling at the gates of Rome, 
but Hannibal. 

An army which cannot be reen forced is 
already defeated (See Note 

A commander in chief ought to say to 
himself several times a day: If the enemy 
should appear on my front, on my right, 
on my left, what would I do? And if the 
question finds him uncertain, he is not well 
placed, he is not as he should be, and he 
should remedy it. 

During a campaign no commander should 
sleep under a roof; and there should be 
only one tent, that of the general in chief, 
necessary on account of the clerical work 
to be done. 

Military science is the calculation of 
masses on given points. 

The force of any army, like momentum 
in mechanics, is represented by the mass 


multiplied by the rate of movement. A 
rapid inarch adds to the morale of an army; 
it increases its means of victory. 

Nothing is more important in war than 
singleness in command. So also when war 
is made against a single power it is only 
necessary to have a single army, acting ac- 
cording to a single plan, and led by a, single 

It is imagination which loses battles. 

The moment of greatest peril is the mo- 
ment of victory. 

At the beginning of a campaign it is 
important to consider whether or not to 
move forward; but when one has taken 
the offensive it is necessary to maintain it 
to the last extremity. However skilfully 
effected a retreat may be, it always lessens 
the morale of an army, since in losing the 
chances of success, they are remitted to the 
enemy. A retreat, moreover, costs much 
more in men and materials than the blood- 
iest engagements, with this difference, also, 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

that in a battle the enemy loses practically 
as much as you do; while in a retreat you 
lose and he does not. 

Changing from the defensive to the 
offensive, is one of the most delicate opera- 
tions in war. 

An army ought to be ready every mo- 
ment to offer all the resistance of which it 
is capable. 

Never march by flank in front of an 
army in position. This principle is absolute. 

The keys of a fortress are worth the 
liberty of its garrison when it has resolved 
not to surrender itself. Thus it is always 
more advantageous to grant honorable 
terms of capitulation to a garrison which 
has shown a vigorous resistance, than to 
risk the chances of an assault. 

Soldiers ought to be encouraged by all 
means to remain with the colors. This will 
be easily accomplished by showing high 
esteem for old soldiers. Pay ought to be 



increased with years of service. It is a 
great injustice not to pay a veteran more 
than a recruit. 

In war, as in love, in order to take a 
decisive part, one must be right there. 

The art of a general of the advance guard 
or of the rear guard, is, without compromisr 
ing himself too far, to hold the enemy, to 
retard him, to delay him three or four hours 
in making a league. To accomplish these 
important results is a matter of tactics, and 
more essential in cavalry command than in 
infantry, and in advance or rear guard posi- 
tions than in any other. 

In a battle, as in a siege, the art consists 
in concentrating very heavy fire on a par- 
ticular point. The line of battle once estab- 
lished, the one who has the ability to con- 
centrate an unlocked for mass of artillery 
suddenly and unexpectedly on one of these 
points is sure to carry the day. 

Generals who hold fresh troops for the 
morrow of the battle, are nearly always 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

beaten. One must use all his forces to the 
very last man, if any purpose is served by 
it, for on the morrow of a complete success 
one has no obstacles before him; the force 
of prestige alone will assure new triumphs 
to the victor. 

Dealing constantly with even the most 
violent facts, involves less wear on the 
heart than dealing with abstractions; mili- 
tary men, therefore/have an advantage over 

There is a joy in danger. 

War is a serious game in which a man 
risks his reputation, his troops, and his 
country. A sensible man will search him- 
self to know whether or not he is fitted for 
the trade. 

No man will seek epaulettes on the field 
of battle, when he can get them in an ante- 

Nothing can excuse a general for profiting 
by information gained in the service of his 


country to fight it and deliver its ramparts 
to foreigners. This is a crime condemned 
by religion, morality, and honor. 

War is a natural state. 

A general-in-chief should give repose to 
neither victors nor vanquished. 

There is only one favorable moment in 
war; talent consists in knowing how to 
seize it. 

Coolness is the greatest quality in a man 
destined to command. 

The mind of a good general ought to 
resemble in clearness the lens of a field- 

He who cannot look over a battlefield 
with a dry eye, causes the death of many 
men uselessly. 

In war, the chief alone understands the 
importance of certain things, and he alone 
is able by his will, and by his superior in- 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

formation, to vanquish and surmount all 

In war, theory is all right so far as general 
principles are concerned; but in reducing 
general principles to practice there will 
always be danger. Theory and practice are 
the axis about which the sphere of accom- 
plishment revolves. 

There are some cases where the expend- 
iture of men is an economy of blood. 

The secret of great battles consists in 
knowing how to deploy and concentrate at 
the right time. 

Information obtained from prisoners 
ought to be accepted only at its real value. 
A soldier sees nothing beyond his own com- 
pany; and an officer is able, at the most, to 
give an account of the position, or of the 
movements, of the division to which his reg- 
iment belonged. And the general-in-chief 
ought to take into consideration the admis- 
sions torn from prisoners only when they 
are consistent with the reports of the ad- 

_ War _ 

vance guard, in order to fortify his con- 
jectures as to the position of the enemy. 

The art of war consists in being always 
able, even with an inferior army, to have 
stronger forces than the enemy at the point 
of attack or the point which is attacked 
(See Note 

The praises of enemies are always to be 
suspected. A man of honor will not permit 
himself to be flattered by them, except when 
they are given after the cessation of hostil- 

Prisoners of war do not belong to the 
power for whom they have fought; they 
are wholly under the safeguard of the honor 
and generosity of the nation which has dis- 
armed them. 

Read, and re-read the campaigns of 
Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Caesar, 
Gustavus Adolphus, Turenne, Prince Eu- 
gene, and of Frederick the Great; model 
yourself after them; that is the only means 
of becoming a great captain and of surpris- 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

ing the secrets of the art of war. Your 
genius enlightened by this study, you will 
then reject every maxim contradictory to 
those of these great men. 

The most desirable quality in a soldier is 
constancy in the support of fatigue; valor 
is only secondary. 

There are five things which a soldier must 
never part with: his gun, his cartridges, 
his haversack, provisions for four days at 
least, and his trench tool. 

Nothing augments a battalion like suc- 

An army is a nation which obeys. 

Policy and morals concur in repressing 

The best soldier is not so much the one 
who fights as the one who marches. 

As a result of holding councils of war 
there happens what has always happene4 


from the beginning of time, we end by 
resigning ourselves to the worst, which, in 
war, is nearly always the most pusillanimous 

Gentleness, good treatment, honor the 
victor and dishonor the vanquished, who 
should remain aloof and owe nothing to 

In war, audacity is the finest calculation 
of genius. 

When once the flames of civil war break 
out, military chiefs are only the means of 
victory; it is the crowd that governs. 

In the wars of parties, defeat perma- 
nently discourages; it is therefore in civil 
wars especially, that good fortune is nec- 

In civil war it is not given to every man 
to know how to conduct himself. There is 
something more than military prudence 
necessary; there is need of sagacity and the 
knowledge of men. 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

Give yourself all the chances of success, 
when you plan to engage in a great battle, 
especially if your opponent is a great cap- 
tain; for if you are beaten, if you should be 
in the midst of your stores, near your forti- 
fied places, unhappy the vanquished. 

Privation and misery are the real in- 
structors of the soldier. 

Nothing is so contrary to military rules 
as to make the strength of your army 
known, either in the orders of the day, in 
proclamations, or in the newspapers. When 
one is led to speak of his force he should 
exaggerate their number, making the num- 
ber formidable by doubling or trebling it; 
and, on the contrary, when one speaks of 
the force of the enemy, one ought to dimin- 
ish their number by a half or a third; all is 
fair in war. 

Courage is like love; it must have hope 
for nourishment. 

War is a lottery in which nations ought 
to risk nothing but small amounts. 


War is above all else an affair of skill. 

In war a great disaster always indicates a 
great culprit. 

The man of genius always recovers him- 
self after a fault as after a misfortune. 

The French nation has never been van- 
quished when united. 

Our troops go forward spontaneously. 
A war of invasion pleases them. But a 
standstill defensive does not fit in with the 
French genius. 

There is but one honorable way to be 
made a prisoner of war. That is to be 
taken singly, and without being able to use 
one's weapons. Then there is nothing else 
to be done ; one yields to necessity. 

Achilles was the son of a goddess and of 
a mortal; in that, he is the image of the 
genius of war. The divine part is all that 
that is derived from moral considerations of 
character, talent, the interest of your ad- 
[ 129 ] 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

versary, of opinion, of the temper of the 
soldier, which is strong and victorious, or 
feeble and beaten, according as he believes 
this divine part to be. The mortal part is 
the arms, the fortifications, the order of 
battle everything which arises out of ma- 
terial things. 

In war any commander of a fortress who 
yields it a moment sooner than he is obliged 
to, deserves death. 

Alarms dampen spirits and paralyze 

When a city is in a state of siege, a 
military commander becomes a sort of 
magistrate and must conduct himself with 
moderation and the decency which the cir- 
cumstances require. 

To violate military agreements is to re- 
nounce civilization; it is to put one's self 
on the level of the Bedouin of the desert. 

The principle of all negotiations for an 
armistice is that each shall remain in the 



situation in which the armistice finds him. 
The rights of all follow from the application 
of this principle. 

Of all men, the soldier is the most sensible 
to benefits. 

When a nation has no records for enroll- 
ment, and no principle of military organ- 
ization, it is very hard for it to organize an 

For the brave a gun is only the handle of 
a bayonet. 

When a soldier has been disgraced and 
dishonored by being flogged, he cares little 
for the glory and honor of his country. 

Intrepid men are not found among those 
who have something to lose. 

In war, genius is thought in action. 

When conscription is no longer looked on 
as a burden, but only as a point of honor, of 
which each is jealous, then only is a nation 
great, glorious, strong; it is then alone that 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

it is in a position to brave reverses, inva- 
sions time itself. 

Courage cannot be counterfeited. It is 
one virtue that escapes hypocrisy. 

My custom is to sleep on the battlefield. 

In war one must lean on an obstacle in 
order to overcome it. 

No man has a place in the French army 
who values life more than the national glory 
and the esteem of his comrades. 

A general in the power of the enemy has 
no more orders to give to those who still 

In war, character and opinion make more 
than half of the reality. 

If ever an army invades England, London 
will not be able to resist an hour. 

That dependable courage, which in spite 
of the most sudden circumstances, neverthe- 


less allows freedom of mind, of judgment 
and of decision, is exceedingly rare. 

Bravery is an innate quality; no one can 
give it to you, it is in the blood. Courage 
is a quality of the mind. Bravery is often 
only impatience of danger. 

War is becoming an anachronism; if we 
have battled in every part of the continent 
it was because two opposing social orders 
were facing each other, the one which dates 
from 1789, and the old regime. They could 
not exist together; the -younger devoured 
the other. I know very well, that, in the 
final reckoning, it was war that overthrew 
me, me the representative of the French 
Revolution, and the instrument of its prin- 
ciples. But no' matter ! The battle was lost 
for civilization, and civilization will inevit- 
ably take its revenge. There are two sys- 
tems, the past and 'the future. The present 
is only a painful transition. Which must 
triumph? The future, will it not? Yes 
indeed, the future! That is, intelligence, 
industry, and peace. The past was brute 
force, privilege, and ignorance. Each of 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

our victories was a triumph for the ideas of 
the Revolution. Victories will be won, one 
of these days, without cannon, and without 

It is not that addresses at the opening of 
a battle make the soldiers brave. The old 
veterans scarcely hear them, and recruits 
forget them at the first boom of the cannon. 
Their usefulness lies in their effect on the 
course of the campaign, in neutralizing 
rumors and false reports, in maintaining a 
good spirit in the camp, and in furnishing 
matter for camp-fire talk. The printed order 
of the day should fulfill these different ends. 

One is brave only for others. 

What are the conditions that make for 
the superiority of an army? Its internal 
organization, military habits in officers and 
men, the confidence of each in themselves; 
that is to say, bravery, patience, and all that 
is contained in the idea of moral means. 

The issue of a battle is the result of an 
instant, of a thought. There is the advance, 



with its various combinations, the battle is 
joined, the struggle goes on a certain time, 
the decisive moment presents itself, a spark 
of genius discloses it, and the smallest body 
of reserves accomplish victory. 

In war, groping tactics, half-way meas- 
ures, lose everything. 

Europe will never be tranquil until nat- 
ural limits are restored. 

The worst punishment possible in a 
French army is shame. 

A man who has no consideration for the 
needs of his men ought never to be given 

Left to themselves, infantry against cav- 
alry would never reach definite results. But 
with artillery, forces being equal, cavalry 
ought to annihilate infantry. 

An army should be constituted of a just 
proportion of infantry, cavalry, and artil- 
lery. These different arms never take the 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

place of one another. For every thousand 
men there should be four pieces of artillery, 
and cavalry equal to a fourth of the in- 

One ought never to detach troops from an 
army on the eve of an attack. Conditions 
change from one moment to another. A 
battalion may decide the fate of a day. 

The infantry is the soul of an army. 

The better infantry is, the more necessary 
it is to handle them well, and to support 
them with good batteries. 

The strength of cavalry is in its impetus. 
But it is not alone its rapidity which assures 
success, it is its formation, its organization, 
and the good employment of its reserves. 

Artillery is more necessary to cavalry 
than to infantry, since cavalry do not return 
fire, and are not able to fight except with 
side arms. It is to supplement this lack 
that horse artillery has been originated. 
Cavalry ought always to have its batteries 


with it, whether it attacks, remains in posi- 
tion, or re-forms. 

To plan to reserve cavalry for the finish 
of the battle, is to have no conception of the 
power of combined infantry and cavalry 
charges, either for attack or for defense. 

It is not necessary to dissimulate ; I intend 
from this time to choose my admirals from 
among the young officers of thirty-two and 
thereabouts. I have enough frigate captains 
with ten years' experience in navigation to 
be able to choose from among them six, to 
whom I would be willing to confide com- 
mands. My intention is to advance and 
develop these young men by every possible 

The art of war on land is an art of gen- 
ius, of inspiration. In that of the sea there 
is nothing of genius or inspiration. There, 
everything is constant and according to ex- 
perience. The general of the sea has need 
of only one science, that of navigation. The 
one on land has need of all, or of a talent 
which is the equivalent of all, that will 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

enable him to profit by all experience, and 
all knowledge. A general of the sea has 
nothing to divine. He knows where his 
enemy is, he knows his strength. A general 
on land never knows anything with cer- 
tainty, never sees his enemy well, and never 
knows positively where he is. 

A general commandant-in-chief of a naval 
army, and a general commandant-in-chief 
of an army on land, need very different 
qualities. One must be born with the qual- 
ities necessary for the latter; while the 
qualities necessary for the former can be 
acquired only by experience. 

A general-in-chief on the sea depends 
more on his captains of vessels than a gen- 
eral-in-chief on land does on his generals. 
On land the commander-in-chief has the 
right, and the opportunity, to himself take 
direct command of troops, to support every 
point, and to remedy any false movements. 
A general of the sea has personal influence 
only on the men on the vessel on which he 
happens to be, the smoke preventing sig- 
nals from being seen on the others. It is 


therefore, of all callings, that one wherein 
subalterns must take the most on themselves. 

In order not to be astonished at obtaining 
victories, one ought not to think only of 

The loss of our naval battles arose from 
the lack of force in the generals-in-chief, to 
their defects of tactics, and to the belief held 
by the captains that they ought to act only 
in accordance with signals. 

On land, an undisciplined bravery has 
been able to win sometimes; on the sea, 

We celebrate a victory, even while we 
weep over the fallen, even enemies. 

In war, luck is half in everything. 

My most splendid campaign was that of 
March 20; not a single shot was fired (See 
Note 37). 

I have a hundred thousand pensioners. 



OUR light-heartedness, lack of reflec- 
tion, comes to us honestly. We will 
always be Gauls. We will not place a true 
value on things until we substitute principles 
for turbulence, pride for vanity, and love of 
institutions for love of places. 

In France, only the impossible is admired. 

I have shown France what she is capable 
of; let her achieve it. 

The distinctive characteristic of our 
nation is that we are much too mercurial in 

The French people have two equally 
powerful passions which seem the very 
opposites of each other, but which, neverthe- 
less, grow out of the same sentiment. They 
are the love of equality and the love of dis- 
[ HO] 


tinctions. A government can satisfy these 
two needs only by exact justice. The law 
and the operation of government should be 
equal for all, and honors and rewards should 
come to those men who, in the eyes of all, 
seem most worthy. 

The sentiment of national honor is never 
more than half extinguished in the French. 
It takes only a spark to re-kindle it. 

The Emperor observed that we French, 
if we had less energy than the Romans, had 
more decency. We would not have killed 
ourselves, as they did, under the first 
Emperors, but we would not have shown 
all the turpitude, all the servility, that was 
displayed under the last. " Even in our 
most corrupt moments," said he, " our 
baseness was not without a certain reserve/' 

The French nation is easily governed if 
one does not get at cross purposes with it. 
Nothing equals its quick and easy compre- 
hension. It distinguishes, instantly, those 
who work for it, and those who work 
against it. The appeal must always be made 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

to its intelligence. Otherwise its inquiet 
spirit frets itself, it ferments and explodes. 

Credulity has been the national charac- 
teristic of the French since the time of the 

If the Roman people had made the same 
use of their strength that the French people 
have of theirs, the Roman Eagles would 
still surmount the Capital, and eighteen 
centuries of slavery and of tyranny would 
not have dishonored the human species. 

Without a navy, France is exposed to all 
sorts of insults. 

Every system finds apologists in France. 

The French complain of everything, and 

France loves change too much for any 
government to endure there. 

With a sincere ally, France will be mis- 
tress of the world. 


When I learn that a nation can live with- 
out bread, then I will believe that the French 
people can live without glory. 

The French are, perhaps, the only nation 
in which all ranks of society, can be moved 
equally strongly by means of honor. 

I would like the title of Frenchman to be 
the finest, the most desirable, in the world; 
that every Frenchman traveling anywhere 
in Europe should believe himself, should 
find himself, always among friends. 

There is nothing which you cannot get 
from the French by the lure of danger. It 
seems to give them spirit. 

It is a part of the French character to 
exaggerate, to complain, and to distort 
everything when dissatisfied. 

Among the English, the higher classes 
have pride; among us, unfortunately, they 
have only vanity. Herein is the great and 
characteristic difference between the two 
people. The great mass of our people, today 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

at least (1816), constitute that people of 
Europe in which the national sentiment is 
strongest. It has profited by its twenty-five 
years of revolution; but, unfortunately, the 
class which the Revolution has raised has 
not responded in any degree to its new 
destinies. It has shown only corruption and 
versatility. It has displayed in these last 
crises neither talent nor character nor vir- 
tue. It has lost the honor of the nation (See 
Note 38). 

Valor, the love of glory, is an instinct, a 
sort of sixth sense, with the French. Many 
a time in the heat of battle, my attention 
has been arrested by the sight of a young 
conscript, in his first engagement, throwing 
himself into the struggle. Honor and cour- 
age seemed to exude from every pore. 

France will always be a great nation. 

The Turks can be killed, but they can 
never be conquered. 

No one saw in my war in Spain the pos- 
session of the Mediterranean. 
[ 144] 


Europe is a molehill. It has never had 
any great empires, like those of the Orient, 
numbering six hundred million souls. 

Antwerp is ever a loaded pistol aimed at 
the heart of England. 

England is the only power whose interest 
it is that France shall not have Belgium ; and 
as long as England will not allow France to 
possess that country, there is no sincerity 
in her alliance. 

Whoever possesses Constantinople ought 
to rule the world. 

When the Russians make themselves 
masters of Constantinople, they will be able 
to retain as many Moslems there as they 
care to, by assuring them of their property 
rights, and tolerating their religion. The 
Moors of Spain submitted to everything, 
even the inquisition, and it took an order 
from Ferdinand and Isabella to expel them. 

I have inplanted in the Italians principles 
which will never be eradicated, but which 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

will go on forever working out their natural 

It will take a skilful legislator to develop 
a taste for arms among the Italians. 

One of my cherished thoughts has been 
to reunite and reestablish, geographically, 
the peoples which revolutions and politics 
have broken up and parcelled out. There 
are in Europe thirty million French, fifteen 
million Spaniards, fifteen million Italians, 
thirty million Germans, and twenty million 
Poles ; I would make of each, one nation. 
The impulse has been given, each of these 
results will be accomplished; and it is my 
thought which will have served the future 
destiny of Europe (See Note 

Europe has its history, often tragic, 
though at intervals consoling. But to speak 
of any universally recognized national rights 
or that these rights have played any part in 
its history, is to play with the powers of 
public credulity. Always the first duty of a 
state has been its safety; the pledge of its 
safety, its power; and the limits of its power, 


that intelligence of which each has been 
made the depository. When the great pow- 
ers have proclaimed any other principle, it 
has been only for their own purposes, and 
the smaller powers have never received any 
benefit from it. Poland, Venice, have dis- 
appeared from the earth as states, while the 
assembled spectators have seen in these 
political funerals nothing but their own loss. 
Whenever there has been a partition of 
spoils, or compensation given in lieu of them, 
there has been no suggestion of ambition. 
But these compensations, though they have 
always been exacted in the name of justice, 
have always, in fact, been in the name of 
force. That is all there is of reality in the 
pretended European Code. That is what our 
modern statesmen have called their " balance 
of power," a ridiculous term which, to the 
wars engendered by pure ambition, has 
added other wars. It is a mistaken theory 
which has furnished pretext for many iniq- 
uities, but which has saved the weak, only 
when the strong have not known just how to 
get around it. From this so-called great prin- 
ciple there have followed two things, each 
historically true. One is that each state 

Napoleon in His Own Words 

claims the right to control interests foreign 
to itself when those interests are such that 
it can control them without putting its own 
interests in danger. The other principle is 
that the other powers only recognize this 
right of intervening in proportion as the 
country doing it has the power to do it. 


Note I. Napoleon gave the seal of sincerity 
to this extremely cynical philosophy, by his ejacu- 
lation, " Oh, well ; a rival the less," when told of 
the death of General Kleber by assassination in 
Cairo, June 14, 1800. Kleber was undoubtedly 
one of the greatest generals of the French revo- 
lutionary epoch. 

Note 2. This is generally looked on as Na- 
poleon's own idealization and defense of himself 
and of his seizure of power, the successive steps 
by which he sought to make himself the founder 
of a dynasty, and of the despotic character of his 

Note 3. Acting, at least to some extent, in the 
spirit here enunciated, Napoleon in 1802 instituted 
the Order of the Legion of Honor. All previ- 
ously existing French military or religious orders 
those of | St. Michael, the Holy Ghost, St. 
Louis, and Military Merit, as well as the united 
orders of St. Lazarus and Our Lady of Mount 
Carmel had been abolished at the Revolution. 
The Legion of Honor survived the restoration of 
the Bourbons, indeed was adopted by them, 
though modified in some particulars, while the 
old orders were restored. It has maintained itself 
through all political changes, and since the estab- 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

lishment of the Third Republic has been the only 
military order in France for it is essentially 
military in character, though not strictly confined 
to the recognition of military merit. It is con- 
ferred for distinguished services of any kind, and 
is not limited to citizens of France. The order 
has occasionally been conferred on women, as for 
instance on Rosa Bonheur, the painter, and on 
Madame Curie, who with her husband discovered 

Note 4. The necessity for a code in France 
grew out of the immense number of separate sys- 
tems of jurisprudence existing in the country be- 
fore 1789, justifying Voltaire's sarcasm that a 
traveler in France had to change laws about as 
often as he changed horses. The conception of 
a general code for the whole country had oc- 
curred to statesmen and jurists before Napoleon; 
and the Convention, in fact, discussed two proj- 
ects presented by Cambaceres, one of which had 
been found too complicated and the other too 

Napoleon, on becoming Consul, appointed a 
commission headed by M. Tronchet to review 
previous efforts and to present a new project. 
In four months the project was presented to the 
government, submitted to the judges, and dis- 
cussed by the Council of State Napoleon him- 
self taking part in the deliberations. At first pub- 
lished under the title of Code Civil des Francais, 
it was afterwards called the Code Napoleon 
the Emperor wishing to attach his name to a 
work which he regarded as the greatest glory of 
his reign. 



The Code Napoleon consists of 2,281 articles, 
arranged under titles and divided into three books, 
preceded by a preliminary title. The subjects of 
the different books are, first, " Des Personnes " ; 
second, " Des biens et des differents modifications 
de la propriete " ; third, " Des differents manieres 
d'acquerir la propriete." It has passed through 
several changes caused by the political vicissitudes 
of the country, and it has, of course, suffered 
from time to time important alterations in sub- 
stance, but it still remains virtually the same in 
principle as it left the hands of its framers. 

The remaining French codes are the " Code de 
Procedure civile," " Code de Commerce," " Code 
d'instruction criminelle," and the " Code penal." 

The merits of the Code Napoleon have entered 
into the discussion on the general subject of 
codification. Austin agrees with Savigny in con- 
demning the ignorance and haste with which it 
was compiled. " It contains," says Austin, " no 
definitions of technical terms (even the most lead- 
ing), no exposition of the rationale of distinc- 
tions (even the most leading), no exposition of 
the broad principles and rules to which the nar- 
rower provisions in the code are subordinate 
hence its fallacious brevity." All the French 
Codes have, however, taken firm root in most of 
the continental countries of Europe. Introduced 
by French conquest, they nevertheless were 
eagerly adopted by the people after the French 
arms had been withdrawn. 

Note 5. Henry iv (1553-1610), son of An- 
tony of Bourbon, King of Navarre, and Jeanne 
of Albret, was, on his father's side, the tenth in 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

descent from Saint Louis. He was brought up a 
Calvinist by his mother. In 1571 he married Mar- 
garet of Valois, daughter of Catherine de Medici. 
He escaped the massacre of St. Bartholomew only 
by professing Catholicism, but on his escape 
from court in 1575 he became the acknowledged 
head of the Huguenots, and by his dashing brav- 
ery kept life in their dispirited forces. He had all 
the qualities of a guerilla leader, though he was 
not a great general. His conversion to Catholi- 
cism in 1593 proved of great political advantage, 
and by 1598 he had overcome all important op- 
posing influences. He issued the Edict of Nantes 
in April, 1598, and from that time on devoted 
his energies to the restoration of the country dev- 
astated by nearly forty years of civil war. The 
organizing genius of Maximilian of Bethune, 
Duke of Sully, restored the finances, and agricul- 
ture, manufactures, and commerce made mar- 
velous advances. 

Henry was assassinated by Ravaillac, May 14, 

Philip iv, known as Philip the Fair, King of 
France, was born in 1268 and died in 1314. His 
was a troubled reign, including a controversy 
with Pope Boniface vin; and while Philip the 
Fair in his personality does not challenge our 
sympathy, he stands as one of the great figures in 
French history. He is thought of as the first 
sovereign in the modern sense. He made himself 
the head of both the temporal power and the 
church in France, freed himself in large degree 
from the feudal lords, increased the royal domain, 
and greatly developed both administrative and 
judicial institutions. 



Note 6. Voltaire, whose real name was Fran- 
cois Marie Arouet, was born in Paris in 1694 and 
died there in 1778. He began to call himself 
Arouet de Voltaire, or simply Voltaire, after his 
release from the Bastille in April, 1718. His 
father was a prosperous notary from whom he 
inherited a comfortable fortune; and Voltaire, 
himself, had the money-making ability, not wholly 
free from unscrupulousness, and amassed a con- 
siderable fortune. To his own age Voltaire was 
preeminently a poet and philosopher. Later ages 
have questioned whether he was entitled to either 
name. But he exercised a wonderful influence on 
his own century, an influence that was in many 
aspects very largely beneficial. Throughout his 
whole life he was the opponent of intolerance, 
especially of religious and political intolerance. 
No other writer has written on as great a variety 
of subjects as he, nor as much, and everything he 
wrote was French in its limpid clearness, ele- 
gance, precision, and purity of style. The most 
diametrically opposite opinions have been held of 
him, but there can be little doubt that he was one 
of the great men not only of his time but of all 

Note 7. The Encyclopedists is a name by 
which the world designates that wonderful body 
of men, D'Alembert, Diderot, Voltaire, Montes- 
quieu, Rousseau, and their associates, who wrote, 
edited and otherwise prepared that marvelous 
work, the French Encyclopedia, published during 
the period from 1751 to 1772. No encyclopedia 
perhaps has been of such political importance, or 
has occupied so conspicuous a place in the civil 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

and literary history of its century. It sought not 
only to give information but to guide opinion. 
It was theistic but heretical. 

It was opposed to the church, then all powerful 
in France, and it treated dogma historically. It 
was a war machine. As it progressed, its attacks 
both on the church and on the still more despotic 
government, became bolder and more undisguised, 
and it was met by opposition and persecution 
unparalleled in the history of encyclopedias. The 
preliminary discourse by D'Alembert printed with 
the first volume gives an admirable and compre- 
hensive view of the scope and extent of human 
knowledge as it existed at the period immediately 
preceding the French Revolution, and from this 
point of view is the most important philosophic 
work of the eighteenth century. The Encyclo- 
pedia in many ways prepared the way for the 
Revolution by spreading knowledge, awakening 
inquiry and intelligence, and by the direction it 
gave to thought regarding human rights. 

Note 8. Fenelon, Francois de Salignac de la 
Mothe, Archbishop of Cambray and one of the 
most celebrated names in the intellectual and ec- 
clesiastical history of France in the seventeenth 
century, was born August 6, 1651, and died Janu- 
ary 17, 1715. He came of a family ennobled 
from the middle of the fifteenth century which 
gave many distinguished names to France. He 
became the preceptor of the young Duke of Bur- 
gundy, a violent and impetuous, but affectionate 
and bright child, whom he developed into a well- 
disciplined and promising youth whose life, if 
spared, might have brought blessing to France. 



For the instruction of his pupil, Fenelon wrote, 
among other things, his celebrated Telemaque. 
In this his enemies saw covert criticisms of the 
government of Louis xiv, and the publication of 
this work resulted in his losing the royal favor. 
Out of the Quietist doctrines, championed by 
Madame Guyon, which he scrupled to condemn, 
there grew a bitter controversy with Bossuet, and 
Fenelon was condemned by the Holy See. He 
submitted to this decision and spent the remainder 
of his life in his diocese in ceaseless works of 
Christian piety and charity, becoming more hon- 
ored in his retirement than he had been in Paris. 
Fenelon is chiefly remembered for the beauty 
of his character, his tender and mystic devotion, 
and the charm of his style as a writer. He is 
not great as a thinker, nor can the substance of 
his writings be said to have a permanent value. 
But there is the same subtle delicacy, sensibility, 
tenderness, and purity of expression in his style 
as in his character. An exquisite, highly-toned, 
and noble genius pervades the one as the other. 
As a man he is one of the greatest figures in a 
great time. As a writer he has been placed in 
prose on the same level with Racine in poetry. 
In both there is the same full harmony and clear- 
ness, the same combination of natural grace with 
perfect art. 

Note 9. Jean de la Fontaine was born in 
1621 and died in 1695. His fame as a poet is 
based on his tales and his fables. The latter 
have an irresistible charm and have become uni- 
versal property, accepted by every age since 
his. They touch the most diverse human 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

qualities, but always with delicious originality. 
They are veritable creations. No one has 
rivaled him in the exquisite grace, the malicious 
good humor, the simplicity, and naturalness with 
which he makes the personages of his fables 
speak, nor in the perfect art of his style. While 
in these fables he has given expression to a few 
sentiments of personal egotism, on the whole his 
works bear the imprint of the engaging sweetness, 
the innocent kindliness, and the sensibility of his 

Note 10. Jean Racine, celebrated French 
tragic poet, was born in 1639 and died in 1699. 
He was the friend of Boileau, La Fontaine, and 
Moliere. In some respects the rival of Corneille, 
his works are gentler, nearer nature, and more 
human in their touch. While Corneille sought 
complicated plots within which his heroes de- 
ployed their superhuman qualities, Racine sought 
simple, clear plots, in which the delineation of 
passions in simple fidelity to truth was his effort. 
His influence on the French language of his time 
was both extensive and beneficial. Among his 
principal tragedies are, Andromaque, Britannicus, 
Mithridate, Iphigenie, and Phedre, and the sacred 
tragedies, Esther, and Athalie. 

Note ii. Tartu ffe is a comedy in five acts by 
Moliere, and the masterpiece of French comedy. 
Tartuffe, the chief character, will always remain 
the type of perversity and dissimulated corruption 
under an exterior of respectability; in other 
words, of hypocrisy. Many passages of the com- 
edy have passed into the language as proverbs. 



Note 12. Gil Bias is one of the most cele- 
brated romances in literature. It was written by 
Alain Rene le Sage, a Frenchman (1668-1747), 
the creator of the romance of manners. Gil Bias, 
the hero of the story, has become the type of the 
well-brought-up and instructed young man living 
constantly by expedients more or less doubtful, 
and who is constantly throwing himself into new 

Note 13. Francois Rene de Chateaubriand, an 
illustrious French writer (1768-1848), traveled 
in America, returning to France just as the Rev- 
olution began. He became an emigre in 1792. 
After the Restoration he was minister of foreign 
affairs. The most salient qualities of his style 
are brilliancy, wealth of imagination, and a gor- 
geous eloquence. He exercised a considerable 
influence on the development of romantic litera- 
ture. Posterity has not found the same value in 
his writings that his contemporaries did. The 
Genius of Christianity is the work by which he 
is best known to English readers. 

Note 14. Jean Francois de la Harpe (1739-' 
1803), was a French poet and literary critic. 
Among others of his works is a Cours de Lit- 
terature, which is excellent, especially for the 
seventeenth century. 

Note 15. Madame de Stael (1766-1817), was 
the daughter of the famous financier Necker. 
Her husband was Eric Magnus, Baron of Stael- 
Holstein, Ambassador of Sweden to France. Her 
marriage was largely one of convenience. Her 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

husband obtained money, and she a position; but 
there was no scandal. They had three children. 
She was ambitious for power and influence in a 
noisy extravagant way, though honest and sincere 
in her political convictions, which were liberal. 
Just why there should have been the bitterness 
between Napoleon and herself it is hard to say. 
She was a woman of influence, and it doubtless 
displeased Napoleon that she should show herself 
recalcitrant to his influence. But it also doubtless 
pleased Madame de Stael to quite an equal degree, 
that Napoleon should apparently put forth his 
power to crush her and fail. Napoleon's course 
toward her was little creditable to him. He exiled 
her from France and he suppressed her book 
Germany, after it had been passed by the censor. 
Coppet is a Swiss village on the Lake of Geneva 
where she made her home during much of her 
exile. Her books, of which Corinne and Delphine 
are probably the best known, were given extrava- 
gant praise during her life, but are now little 
read. Her son edited an edition of her writings 
in seventeen volumes. She counted among those 
whom she greatly influenced, Benjamin Constant, 
Schlegel, Talleyrand, Narbonne, Jaucourt, Gui- 
bert, Byron, and many others. She was a re- 
markable woman in many ways, and as Napoleon 
said, " she will endure." 

Note 16. Armide and Clorinde, or, as they are 
known under the English spelling, Armida and 
Clorinda, are two characters in Tasso's Jerusalem 
Delivered. Armida, seductively beautiful, who 
was sent forth by the infernal senate to sow dis- 
cord in the Christian camp, turns the action of 


the epic. Her name is often used to designate a 
woman who fascinates by her seductive charms. 
Clorinda, on the other hand, bravely donning ar- 
mor, like Marfisa, fights in duel with her devoted 
lover, receives baptism from his hands in her pa- 
thetic death, and has become the type of the 
courageous woman who scorns the fears and 
weaknesses so natural to her sex. 

Note 17. Pierre Augustin, Caron de Beau- 
marchais, was born in Paris in 1732 and died in 
1799. He was the author of The Barber of Se- 
ville, The Marriage of Figaro, and Mere Coupa- 
ble, all of them audacious dramas, sparkling with 
witty lines, full of movement and gaiety. Beau- 
marchais was audacious and adventurous in char- 
acter, and he has left some remarkable and 
curious Memoirs, the material for which grew 
largely out of his controversies with Counsellor 

Note 18. The Theatre Francaise, or as it has 
for a long time been known, the Comedie Fran- 
caise, was founded by Louis xiv in 1680. It had 
exclusive rights until the Revolution, when the 
liberty of the theatre, among other liberties, was 
proclaimed; and there were soon no less than 
fifty theatres in Paris. In 1807 the Empire re- 
stricted the number to nine, and reinstated the 
Theatre Francaise in sole possession (or nearly 
such) of the right of performing the classic 

Note 19. The Chateau, or Palace, of Ver- 
sailles was designed by Mansard for Louis xiv. 


] Napoleon in His Own Words 

It was the favorite residence of the Bourbons for 
a hundred years. The States-General met here in 
May, 1789, and from this meeting dates the 
French Revolution. The King of Prussia was 
proclaimed Emperor of Germany here in 1871. It 
was the residence of the President of the French 
Republic from 1871 to 1879. Louis Phillipe re- 
stored the palace to its ancient splendor. It is 
one of the showplaces of France and is visited 
annually by thousands. 

Note 20. In 1789 the Constituent Assembly 
proclaimed that all authority emanated from the 
nation, and that there was no authority in France 
superior to the law. Conceiving that the per- 
sistence of the old provinces with their variety 
of local customs might be an obstacle to the 
thorough working out of this idea, it abolished 
these provinces, as administrative divisions, and 
divided France into eighty-three departments 
which were administered by locally elective offi- 
cials for a time. The Revolutionary Government 
took some of their power away from these, ap- 
pointing a commissioner of its own in each de- 
partment. When Napoleon became First Consul, 
all elective representation in the department was 
abolished and a prefect was appointed by him 
for each. These prefects, each in his own de- 
partment, controlled the entire departmental ad- 
ministration : Conscription, taxation, agriculture, 
commerce, public works, education, and charity 
" everything relating to the public wealth, the na- 
tional prosperity, and the peace of those under 
your Administration," as a circular of instructions 
to prefects issued at the time, expressed it. This 



system prevailed under the Consulate, the Empire, 
and the Restoration. Decentralization and local 
representation in departmental affairs began in 
1830 and were extended after the revolution of 
1848, and still further under the Republic. Though 
the prefect has lost much of his former power, 
he is still an important functionary. He repre- 
sents the national government; he has a certain 
veto or restraining power over mayors and mu- 
nicipal councils; he is responsible for the public 
order ; he can call for troops to suppress riots ; his 
regulations regarding matters coming within the 
scope of his authority have the force of law; 
and he has the appointment of a large number 
and variety of minor functionaries and public 
employes, including the teachers in the public 

Note 21. The Battle of Rossbach was fought 
November 5, 1757, between 25,000 Prussians, un- 
der Frederick the Great, and 64,000 French and 
Imperial troops the French under the Duke of 
Soubise and the Imperial troops under the Prince 
of Hildburghausen. It was one of the decisive 
battles of " The Seven Years War." 

Note 22. The body known as the University 
of Paris was founded about 1150, and from its 
beginning had very great privileges. It alone 
had the control and direction of public instruc- 
tion, and in addition had jurisdiction in other 
particulars. On numerous occasions it took part 
in public affairs. It defended the liberties of the 
Church in France, and carried on long struggles 
against certain religious orders. The Univer- 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

sity was suppressed in 1790, but was reorganized 
by Napoleon in 1808. He put at the head of it a 
Grand Master, and placed it directly under the 
control of the state ; and France was territorially 
divided into six academies, each presided over by 
a Rector. At the present time the name Univer- 
sities is given to the several bodies, which, each 
in its own division of France, has direction and 
control of higher education. These bodies are 
all united in a Council of the University, of which 
the Minister of Public Instruction is Grand 

Note 23. The Lycees are a system of free 
schools for secondary instruction. They were 
founded in Paris in 1787 for instruction in lit- 
erature and science. 

Note 24. La Gabelle was a tax. on salt, a part 
of a system of state salt monopoly under the 
ancient regime in France. The price of salt 
varied in different provinces. Each individual 
was obliged to buy a certain amount of salt, re- 
sulting in much that was vexatious in the enforce- 
ment of the tax and the monopoly. This salt tax 
was fully established in 1340 and was abolished 
in 1789 with many other tyrannies and abuses by 
the spirit of equality and freedom which brought 
about the French Revolution. 

Note 25. In France the institution of juries 
in criminal cases dates from 1791. It was one of 
the fruits of the French Revolution, and in the 
action and reaction of opinion that surged so 
violently during the years immediately following, 



it had hardly had time to become a firmly fixed 
institution in Napoleon's day. 

Note 26. Achille de Harlay, President of the 
Parliament of Paris, was born in Paris in 1536. 
He died in 1619. Matthieu Mole (1584-1656), 
President of the Parliament of Paris, and Keeper 
of the Seal, played an important role during the 
Fronde. He negotiated the Peace of Ruel early 
in 1649. 

Note 27. At the Revolution the restrictions on 
the freedom of the press were swept away, the 
Assembly declaring it to be the right of every 
citizen to print and publish his opinions. The 
press remained effectually free in France until 
the Law of February 5, 1810, secured by Na- 
poleon, established a direction of the press. The 
restrictions on the freedom of the press continued 
to be a factor, 'in some degree, of every change in 
the form of government from that time to the 
establishment of the Third Republic, when liberty 
of the press was completely reestablished. 

Note 28. The Bank of France, which had 
been founded in 1799, was definitely organized by 
the law of April 26, 1806, which gave the man- 
agement of the bank to a governor and two 
deputy governors, appointed by the chief of the 
state, and assisted by a council of fifteen regents 
and three censors, elected by the shareholders. 
In addition to issuing bank notes which circulate 
as freely as gold, the bank has all the usual 
banking powers, and transacts a wide variety of 
commercial and financial functions. It is the 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

great instrument of credit in France. By loans 
in difficult circumstances it has more than once 
supported the government, which owns a large 
number of its shares. 

Note 29. Laissez faire, laissez passer, was the 
maxim into which Gournay (1712-1759), one of 
the leading members of that school of political 
economists known as the Physiocrats, condensed 
his doctrine of industrial freedom, which is that 
trade and industry and every guiltless exercise of 
individual will should be left free from taxation 
or restriction or interference by government, ex- 
cept so far as is required by public peace and 
order. No English translation of the French 
expression conveys any idea of the economic doc- 
trine it embodies; and thus the expression itself, 
usually abridged to laissez faire has been adopted 
into our language as the term by which this doc- 
trine is identified or understood. 

Note 30. Emigres is a name given to those 
members of the French aristocracy, or more ex- 
actly to those partisans of the old regime, who 
fled from France beginning within a few days 
after the fall of the Bastille, July 14, 1789. The 
emigres appealed to foreign governments and 
brought about armed invasion of their own 

Note 31. The Island of Martinique is one of 
the Lesser Antilles, and has been a French pos- 
session, with short interruptions, for nearly three 
hundred years. African slave labor was early 
introduced, and by 1736 there were 72,000 blacks. 


Slavery was abolished by the Convention in the 
early course of the French Revolution, and in 
1794 the island was taken possession of by the 
English under Sir John Jervis and Sir Charles 
Grey, and retained for eight years, and it is of 
this action that Napoleon speaks. The Empress 
Josephine was born in Martinique in 1763. 

Note 32. Joseph Balsamo, Count of Caglios- 
tro, an Italian occultist, physician, and clever 
charlatan, was born at Palermo, about 1743. He 
had a successful career at the court of Louis xvi 
and in Parisian society. He died in 1795. 

Note 33. Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804), one 
of the greatest of philosophers, was the grandson 
of a Scotchman who settled in East Prussia. He 
was born at Konigsberg. He is best known by 
his Critique of Pure Reason. 

Note 34. Turenne (1611-1675) was one of 
France's greatest captains. In character he was 
very simple, very modest. His military genius 
utilized careful calculations and deep study and 
thought. His memoirs have been published and 
their value to students of military matters is 
very great. 

Note 35. This is the philosophical summing 
up of Napoleon's experience in Egypt. Nelson's 
victory of the Nile, lost to Napoleon and the 
French the control of the Mediterranean. The 
Directory was no longer able to reenforce him. 
In no way could he make up for the losses to his 
army which even victories entailed. His army 


Napoleon in His Own Words 

became smaller and smaller; but, with that genius 
for success which was the mainspring of his des- 
tiny, Napoleon, after the Acre campaign, seized 
the right moment and a plausible reason for 
transferring the command to the less subtle 
Kleber, and himself returned to France with the 
luster of success not wholly dimmed, to embrace 
opportunity, and command armies still animated 
and recruited by the Republican youth of France. 

Note 36. General Forrest, the brilliant cav- 
alry leader of the Confederacy, is said to have 
expressed this guiding principle by declaring that 
the way to win was to " get there first with the 
most men." 

Note 37. By the campaign of March 20, Na- 
poleon refers to the events following his return 
from Elba and his arrival at Paris. He landed 
March i, 1815, between Cannes and Antibes, and 
twenty days later entered the Tuileries in triumph. 
Louis xvin left the Tuileries March 19, and on 
the next day Napoleon entered Paris. 

Note 38. Napoleon at this time had not been 
long at St. Helena. It was still fresh in his mem- 
ory that after his abdication June 22, 1815, in 
favor of his son, the Chamber of Representa- 
tives passed this son over, and named an execu- 
tive commission of five, the Bourbons, in the 
person of Louis xvm, thus being restored. 

Note 39. This utterance of Napoleon acquires 
a particular significance at this time when, as a 
result of the war between Germany and Austria 



on the one side, and Russia, France, and Great 
Britain on the other, so much has been said and is 
being said of the possibility, as a result of this 
war, of just what Napoleon expressed the desire 
to do. 





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